The 13th season of Indian Premier League (IPL) was originally scheduled to kick off on March 29. The spread of the COVID-19 virus has resulted in an indefinite postponement with the possibility of it being cancelled. So we’re reliving some of the best clashes between the franchises and standout performances. Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) vs Chennai Super Kings (CSK) was set to be the blockbuster match of the day (May 7) as per the original schedule.
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As per the original schedule, an MS Dhoni-led CSK would have gone up against a Dinesh Karthik-led KKR. Exciting youngster Tom Banton would have begun his debut season, Australian quick Pat Cummins would open the bowling and Dhoni would have had to marshal his resources against the always dangerous Andre Russell.
CSK have been the most consistent franchise in IPL history and have qualified for the playoffs in every season they’ve played. They’ve lifted the trophy thrice and finished runner-up on five occasions, and that’s despite not playing two editions of the IPL.
On the other hand, KKR did not qualify for the playoffs for the first three seasons. They may not have cleared the league stage in half the editions they’ve played, but led by former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir, they’ve lifted the trophy twice.
CSK have dominated over KKR with 13 wins in the 21 games they’ve played. KKR have won seven matches, and one tie was abandoned in the second season without a ball being bowled. One of KKR’s wins came crucially in the 2012 final.
Five nail-biting affairs:
Hodge holds his nerve (IPL 2009)
CSK posted 188 for the loss of three wickets with Suresh Raina scoring a half-century and skipper Dhoni and Albie Morkel running amok in the death overs. Chasing 189, KKR lost Sourav Ganguly’s wicket early, but skipper Brendon McCullum and Australia’s Brad Hodge kept the chase alive.
McCullum scored a 48-ball 81 before being dismissed in the 14th over. In the 16th over, David Hussey was dismissed without making an impact. Needing 12 runs an over, Hodge found the perfect partner in Wriddhiman Saha, who provided the necessary support.
Hodge then took his team to the cusp of victory by smashing Balaji for 19 runs in the penultimate over. Dhoni trusted off-spinner Suresh Raina to bowl the last over in which KKR needed six runs, but Saha took KKR to victory with a quick single off the last ball.
Raina’s double blow with the ball at the death (IPL 2011)
The fourth edition of IPL kicked off with a thriller between the two squads. Batting first, CSK scored 153 for four wickets. Kris Srikkanth’s son Aniruddha Srikkanth scored a 55-ball 64 while there were useful contributions from Raina, Dhoni and Morkel.
Chasing 154, KKR got off to a good start thanks to Manvinder Bisla and Jacques Kallis. Despite Bisla and Yusuf Pathan’s dismissals, KKR seemed to be in control only to see the balance shift.
In the 16th over, Ravichandran Ashwin got the wicket of Jacques Kallis off a juicy full toss having scored 52. For the next over, Dhoni picked Raina over Morkel, who had a tough time with the new ball. The part-time off-spinner delivered, by dismissing the dangerous Eoin Morgan. The ploy to demote himself down the order did not work for Gautam Gambhir, who was also dismissed. Raina had given just three runs and took two wickets.
KKR now needed 33 runs from 18 balls with Manoj Tiwary and Laxmi Ratan Shukla at the crease. In the 19th over, Tiwary hit Sri Lankan Suraj Randiv for one boundary and two sixes, but got out on the last ball. Needing to defend nine in the last over, Tim Southee dismissed Shukla off the second ball and then kept Iqbal Abdulla and Rajat Bhatia quiet for the next four balls. CSK won the match by two runs.
The final (2012)
KKR’s first title win was no walk in the park. CSK’s Mike Hussey scored a half-century at the top and Raina dominated with a 38-ball 73 which included three fours and five sixes. Even KKR’s Brett Lee went for 42 runs in four overs. CSK posted a daunting 190 for three and were favourites to win. The early dismissal of skipper Gambhir by Australian pacer Ben Hilfenhaus seemed ominous.
But then it turned out to by Bisla’s night. The Haryana batsman’s 48-ball 89 gave KKR the foundation they needed and he formed a 136-run partnership for the second wicket with Kallis. KKR’s decision to promote Shukla backfired and Pathan was also dismissed cheaply. But Shakib Al Hasan and Bengal batsman Tiwary hit timely boundaries to take KKR to their maiden IPL title. Tiwary finished the game with two boundaries against Dwayne Bravo in the final over as KKR won the match with two balls to spare.
The Uthappa show feat. Russell (IPL 2015)
First Australian chinaman Brad Hogg’s timely strikes prevented CSK from posting a big total. Hogg took four wickets including those of McCullum, Faf du Plessis, Jadeja, and Pawan Negi. Chasing 166, KKR were off to a good start but then lost the wickets of Gambhir, Manish Pandey, and Suryakumar Yadav. KKR were 57 for three in 10th over.
Then, Russell walked in to bat at No 5. All of CSK’s bowlers, from Ashish Nehra to Bravo and Jadeja, no one was spared. Russell was hitting the ball a long way as Uthappa anchored the run chase.
Ronit More and Mohit Sharma stopped the flow of boundaries in death overs but KKR managed to sneak past and win with two balls to spare. Uthappa scored a 55-ball 80 and Russell scored a 32-ball 55 in a 112-run fourth-wicket partnership.
Russell’s carnage dimmed by Billings’ inspired run chase (IPL 2018)
Russell demolished the CSK bowling attack with 11 sixes in his unbeaten 36-ball 88, and took KKR to 202 for six wickets.
In reply, Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu went berserk in the powerplay overs scoring 75 runs. Then KKR’s new recruit Tom Curran dismissed Watson, who had smashed a 19-ball 42. CSK lost the plot in the middle overs as Rayudu was dismissed in the ninth over and Raina in the 11th. Dhoni was struggling. But England’s Sam Billings was up to the task, taking on Curran and even hitting Russell for consecutive sixes.
But then Billings was dismissed by Curran in the 19th over after scoring a 23-ball 56. CSK needed 17 runs from eight deliveries.
Vinay Kumar had to defend 17 runs in the last over and started with a delivery above the waist to Bravo, that was hit for a six. Kumar tried to make up for it, but it was finished after Jadeja finished the match with a six on the fifth legitimate delivery of the over. Billings was named man of the match.
Other standout performances:
When Ravindra Jadeja single-handedly won it for CSK (3 for 20 and 14-ball 36) in an all-round show (IPL 2013)
When Mike Hussey and Manvinder Bisla touched the 90s (IPL 2013)
Netherlands’ Ryan ten Doeschate almost pulled off a win in a low-scoring run chase (IPL 2015)
Russell’s lone stand with a 50 in KKR’s 108/9 in IPL 2019.
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