Hyderabad: At 51 for 5 in nine overs, the Kolkata Knight Riders were down, and almost out. Ten overs later, they were dancing in gay abandon having surpassed Chennai Super Kings’ 157 for 4 with three wickets in hand. The purple band came back from the dead to leave the men in yellow red-faced in the opening match of the Oppo Champions League Twenty20 at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium here on Wednesday night.
The match was supposed to be all boom-bang but was not quite so until late, when Andre Russell joined Ryan ten Doeschate after Kolkata had lost the top half for almost nothing. The two stitched a match-winning 80-run stand for the sixth wicket in 45 balls. West Indian Russell whacked 58 in just 25 balls, five of which he sent over the boundary. Dutchman Doeschate drilled 51 in 41 balls (4×3, 6×2) as the IPL champions pulled off an improbable win to take the sheen off rival Ashish Nehra’s brilliant figures of 4 for 21.
Earlier, CSK, having begun well and then slipped to 86 for 4 in the 13th over, rallied late through captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo’s 71-run unfinished partnership. The two adopted a safety first approach, occasionally going for the big shots as they rebuilt the innings. Dhoni played an unorthodox glance off fast bowler Russell to the fine leg boundary to bring up Chennai’s 100 in the 15th over. The CSK captain then hooked the West Indian for another four in the same over to ease him out of the attack.
The first six of the innings came as late as the 17th over as Dwayne Bravo cut pacer Pat Cummins over third man. He followed it with another ferocious shot over an outstretched Russell on the mid-wicket fence to take 21 runs off the over. Dhoni joined the party to cart Cummins for a six as the CSK innings gathered some momentum.It was maximum force in the last over. Dhoni thumped Umesh Yadav to the mid-wicket boundary first ball and then came back to launch his last delivery into the top tier of the stadium. In between, Umesh did well to bowl two dot balls to Bravo.
The Sunil Narine puzzle is yet to be solved it seems, going by the number of times the West Indian spinner beat batsmen of international repute at will, from both ends. His figures of 4-0-9-1 were baffling.Chawla for his part, took two crucial wickets while conceding 26 runs to tighten the screws on CSK. Even part-time spinner Yusuf Pathan did well in his three overs, giving away only 16 runs for the prize wicket of McCullum. KKR no doubt did well with the ball but had their share of fielding woes. Pathan dropped Dwayne Smith at first slip on the fourth ball of the innings with nothing on board.
Chennai Super Kings: Dwayne Smith c Manvinder Bisla b Piyush Chawla 20, Brendon McCullum lbw b Yusuf Pathan 22, Suresh Raina lbw b Sunil Narine 28, Faf du Plessis st Manvinder Bisla b Piyush Chawla 14, M.S. Dhoni (not out) 35, Dwayne Bravo (not out) 28. Extras (lb2, w8) 10. Total (for four wickets in 20 overs) 157.
FoW: 1-37, 2-49, 3-84, 4-86.
Bowling: Pat Cummins 4-0-49-0, Umesh Yadav 4-0-43-0, Piyush Chawla 4-0-26-2, Sunil Narine 4-0-9-1, Yusuf Pathan 3-0-16-1, Andre Russell 1-0-12-0.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Manvinder Bisla c R. Ashwin b Ashish Nehra 2, Gautam Gambhir c Dwayne Bravo b Ashish Nehra 6, Manish Pandey c Mohit Sharma b Ashish Nehra 0, Yusuf Pathan c Faf du Plessis b Mohit Sharma 1, Ryan ten Doeschate (not out) 51, Suryakumar Yadav c R. Ashwin b Ravindra Jadeja 19, Andre Russell b Ashish Nehra 58, Pat Cummins run out 8, Piyush Chawla (not out) 4. Extras (lb1, w9) 10. Total (for seven wickets in 19 overs) 159.
FoW: 1-9, 2-9, 3-10, 4-21, 5-51, 6-131, 7-155.
Bowling: Ashish Nehra 4-0-21-4, Ishwar Pandey 4-0-31-0, Mohit Sharma 3-0-31-1, Ravindra Jadeja 2-0-25-1, R. Ashwin 3-0-29-0, D. Bravo 3-0-21-0.
Man of the Match: Andre Russell