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Sunday, November 29, 2020

Chennai Super Kings play party-poopers as Kolkata Knight Riders’ playoff hopes take a big hit

Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ravindra Jadeja offset CSK’s bowling profligacy

Written by Shamik Chakrabarty | Updated: October 30, 2020 2:09:49 pm
Chennai Super Kings dugout after securing six-wicket win over KKR. (Source: IPL)

Twenty-three runs were required off eight balls, when Lockie Ferguson bowled a full toss above waist height and conceded a no-ball. From that point onwards, Ravindra Jadeja took over. He hit a six off the free hit followed by a four. And in the final over bowled by Kamlesh Nagarkoti, when the equation had come down to seven runs off two balls, the left-hander smashed back-to-back sixes to secure a six-wicket win for Chennai Super Kings.

By successfully chasing 173 for victory, they threw a spanner in Kolkata Knight Riders’ playoff hopes.

Gaikwad and Jadeja save the day

Varun Chakravarthy’s fine spell, 2/20, had put KKR in the ascendency. Sunil Narine ably supported him. Still CSK were in the hunt because young Ruturaj Gaikwad showed spark and took the game deep. After 65 not out against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the last game, the 23-year-old scored a 53-ball 72 on Thursday, but the job wasn’t done yet.

When MS Dhoni was castled by Varun in the 15th over, CSK were under the pump. Sam Curran was struggling to time the ball and it put Gaikwad under even more pressure. He got out, trying to play an uncharacteristic ramp. Over to Jadeja and his 11-ball 31 not out won the match for his team. Together Gaikwad and Jadeja offset CSK’s bowling profligacy.

CSK’s bowling profligacy

Bit by bit, Chennai Super Kings bowlers were letting it slip. Nitish Rana was the biggest beneficiary of their profligacy.

The inconsistency of their bowlers is a reason for CSK’s underwhelming campaign this term. Against a Kolkata Knight Riders side loaded with four left-handers in the top order, CSK didn’t have a spinner to take the ball away from them. Instead, they had two left-arm spinners in Jadeja and Mitchell Santner and a leggie, Karn Sharma. The pitch was holding up a little and yet again, Harbhajan Singh’s absence was felt. Almost every time pressure was building on KKR batters, CSK bowlers provided boundary balls to allow breathing space.

Rana’s knock was a case in point. For its initial part, he was going at a-run-a-ball, opening the innings. Then, Santner gave him the length to swing and sweep and consecutive fours ensued. When Rana was on 50, Sharma beat him in the air but the skier fell in no man’s land. Sharma missed his length three times in a row in his next over and Rana gleefully hit three successive sixes. Eventually, when he departed for a 61-ball 87, KKR were well set to post a challenging total. With a bit of bowling discipline, CSK could have restricted their opponents to around 160.

CSK pacers, too, weren’t on the money. Sam Curran bowled tight without impact. Lungi Ngidi had a couple of wickets. But Deepak Chahar was disappointing. Nobody targeted Rana with short delivers into the body. And even in the death overs, yorkers were rare.

Brief Scores: KKR 172/5 (Nitish Rana 87, Lungi Nigidi 2/34) lost to CSK 178/4 (R.Gaikwad 72, V. Chakrabarty 2/20) by 6 wickets.

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