In a brief but sparkling display of batsmanship, that reflected the efficacy of authority, audacity and aggression, Ravindra Jadeja provided the finishing touches to pilot Chennai Super Kings (CSK) to a splendid five wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) with two balls to spare in the IPL 12 on Sunday at Kolkata. This was CSK’s seventh success in eight matches making it the leader on the table with 14 points.
CSK was in a tight spot after Dhoni left requiring 41 runs in less than five overs. The need to accelerate the run rating to a near 10 per over was staring at Jadeja and the well settled Raina who made 58 unbeaten runs with seven 4s and one 6 in 42 balls.
But it was Jadeja who opened up in the 18 over, pummeling three 4s in a row from Gurney that brought the team within sight of the target of 162. Jadeja scored 31 runs in 17 balls turning the match well favor of the home team. There were genuine doubts whether CSK could achieve a win at that point.
Barring Jadeja and Raina, two other batsmen were conspicuous in their contributions. Faf du Plessis set the tone early with 24 runs in 16 balls with five 4s and Dhoni held on with Raina for the fifth wicket after CSK lost two quick wickets that of Rayudu and Kedar Jadhav. The manner in which Jadeja came to the fore at the right time and moment once again raised the question why he cannot be sent in a higher order instead of number 7.
It was a disappointment for the Kolkata outfit which at point looked well placed to take the verdict. Opener Lynn was outstanding with a score 82 runs off 51 balls with seven 4s and six 6s. He was in punishing mood from the first ball. But the other batsmen down the order offered not much of resistance. Established stars like Uthappa, Kartick and Andre Russell failed to consolidate the start provided by Lynn. Spinner Tahir tore through the lower order to finish at four for 27 runs. He was declared as the Man of the match.
It was a good result for the home team whose captain Dhoni is under lot of criticism over his entry into the field at argument with the umpires in the last match. He was heavily fined but there is a chorus that the penalty was insufficient to the nature of the offence. Many felt he should have been banned for the next three or four matches.
For the KKR fans it was agonizing to sit and watch the team slumping into defeat in the final overs. No one reflected the somber mood than the owner Shahrukh Khan who looked dejected and forlorn.
Super Kings takes on Sunrisers Hyderabad in the next match on April 17.