Chennai Super Kings nullified a strong start from Kolkata Knight Riders led by Chris Lynn to secure their seventh win of the season. It also helped them take a six-point lead at the top of the table. KKR batted first and set a target of 162 although they looked set for a total much bigger than that before the 15th over. CSK chased it down with five wickets and two balls to spare.
First innings: Chris Lynn and Sunil Narine were making their comeback after a bout of flu had kept them out of KKR’s previous match against Delhi Capitals. While Narine did not last long, Lynn went about dismantling the CSK attack from ball one. He scored his second fifty of the season off just 36 balls and got to a personal milestone of 1000 runs in the IPL.
While KKR kept losing wickets at the other end, Lynn’s ominous form made it look like a 200-plus total was on the cards for the home side. That was until the 15th over when Imran Tahir dismissed Lynn, was flogged for a six and a four by Andre Russell and then dismissed him too off the penultimate ball of the over. That over took Tahir’s tally for the match to four wickets and put the breaks on the KKR innings. They were 133/5 at the end of that over and dragged themselves to 166/8 at the end of the innings.
Second innings: CSK’s openers may not have stuck around for as long as Lynn did but they packed a punch. Faf du Plessis, who took four catches during the KKR innings, hit four consecutive fours off Andre Russell in the third over of the match. Shane Watson was dismissed off the first ball of the next and Du Plessis fell to Narine in the sixth. Kuldeep Yadav, Sunil Narine and Piyush Chawla then built pressure on the for the next three overs by stifling CSK for runs.
The pressure paid off with Ambati Rayudu falling to Chawla while attempting a drive that he couldn’t keep down. Kedar Jadhav then came in and gave the run rate a boost, smashing three fours and a six before falling to Chawla. MS Dhoni took his place and, together with Suresh Raina who had come into the middle when Watson was dismissed, chipped away at the deficit. Narine then dismissed Dhoni in the 16th over but Jadeja and Raina then ensured that CSK don’t lose any momentum from that blow. They would smash 24 runs off the last last 10 balls to take CSK over the line. Raina ended the match unbeaten on 58 off 42 while Jadeja was on 31 off 17.
Gamechanger: The 15th over bowled by Imran Tahir changed the complexion of the game. KKR were hurtling towards the 200-run mark and Andre Russell had not even entered the pitch. But Tahir not only took out Lynn but also dismissed Russell for a total below 40, the first time anyone has done that this season.