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IPL 2021: Ravindra Jadeja stars in a cameo role as CSK beat KKR by two wickets

Chennai Super Kings chased down a challenging target on the last ball, ensuring a two-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders, who were restricted to 171/6 in the first innings.

Written by Shamik Chakrabarty |
Updated: September 27, 2021 7:52:35 am
CSK's Ravindra Jadeja in action with Sam Curran against KKR. (IPL)

Two wickets inside three balls, and suddenly Chennai Super Kings’ chase threatened to fall apart. Until the 17th over, they were in control, chasing 172 for victory. But Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni departed in quick succession and CSK required 26 runs from the last two overs.

Ravindra Jadeja found shots which released the pressure. Kolkata Knight Riders had lost Andre Russell to a hamstring pull and Prasidh Krishna bowled the penultimate over. Jadeja took him to the cleaners, hitting two sixes and two fours. Four runs required off the final over and Sunil Narine upped his game to almost force a super-over. The KKR spinner dismissed Sam Curran and Jadeja, but Deepak Chahar kept calm in the final ball of the match to take his team over the line. CSK won the thriller by two wickets.

Glorious drivers

Amid the bludgeoning of T20 cricket, such glorious driving from CSK openers was so easy on the eye. Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis have a lot in common. At the same time, they complement each other.

Gaikwad set the ‘drive’ rolling, standing on his toes and driving off the back foot past cover-point to a Krishna delivery. Du Plessis got into the act through an on-drive against Krishna followed by a lofted one straight over the bowler’s head.

Eoin Morgan brought on Varun Chakravarthy, his trump card. But unlike the majority of modern-day batsmen, du Plessis and Gaikwad didn’t play the length. They picked it from the hand and their stance and backlift allowed them to stay light on their feet. Du Plessis drove a full delivery from Varun with princely elegance. The spinner dragged his length back but the South African responded with another rasping drive off the back foot.

Gaikwad attacked Narine at the other end. He danced down the track and played a lofted drive over mid-off. When he came out of the crease again, it was a six. Through their decisive footwork, the CSK openers had managed to upset the spinners’ length. Narine dropped one short and Gaikwad effortlessly pulled it over the wide long-on boundary. Coming down to Andre Russell and lofting him over the sightscreen was contemptuous. Gaikwad got out next ball, a leading edge that went to Morgan at cover. But the way he has been playing, an India career beckons for the 24-year-old.

A 74-run opening partnership in 8.2 overs allowed CSK to keep pace with the required run rate. And when the going got tough at the death, Jadeja’s eight-ball 22 did the job.

Jadeja’s allround brilliance

There’s a refreshing change in KKR’s approach in this leg of the tournament. Morgan’s team is now playing fearless cricket. The defeat not withstanding, they were very good.

After Shubman Gill perished to a direct hit from Ambati Rayudu, Venkatesh Iyer and Rahul Tripathi took KKR to 50/1 after five overs.

Then Shardul Thakur came and dismissed Iyer in his very first ball. A wicket-maiden was what CSK required at that stage. Jadeja from the other end tightened the noose. The left-arm spinner went on to bowl a game-turning spell – 21 runs from four overs, including Tripathi’s wicket. Thakur castled Russell in his second spell and returned with 2/20 from four overs. KKR still managed to post 171/6, but they didn’t have Jadeja’s allround quality in their ranks.

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