Suresh Raina and Imran Tahir starred as Chennai Super Kings defeated Kolkata Knight Riders by 5 wickets at the Eden Gardens on Sunday for their 7th win in 8 matches in the 2019 Indian Premier League. After Tahir picked 4 for 27 to restrict KKR to 161 for 8, Raina hit 36th IPL fifty to steer CSK home.
Chasing 162, Chennai Super Kings were dealt an early blow when Harry Gurney removed Shane Watson in the 4th over of the innings. Faf du Plessis, Watson’s opening partner, was looking dangerous but he was done in by a beauty from Sunil Narine.
Piyush Chawla then rocked CSK further when he snared Ambati Rayudu (5) and Kedar Jadhav (20) in his first two overs. Suresh Raina was middling the ball nicely and it was once again up to MS Dhoni to see his team through.
On April 11, MS Dhoni and Ambati Rayudu had hit fifties in a thrilling run chase against Rajasthan Royals. This time, Dhoni had his trusted lieuternant Suresh Raina for company as the asking rate kept climbing. CSK needed both men to fire away but Sunil Narine had other plans.
IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) April 14, 2019
Back for his second spell, Narine trapped MS Dhoni lbw. The CSK captain asked for a review but replays confirmed Dhoni was struck plumb infront. At 121 for 5, CSK needed 41 off the last 4 overs but they still had Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja in the middle.
Raina brought up his 36th IPL fifty while Jadeja hit Gurney for three boundaries in a row in the 19th over to bring CSK close to their target.
Earlier in the afternoon, Chris Lynn waged a lone battle for Kolkata Knight Riders with a classy 82. Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni won the toss and Lynn walked out to open with the dangerous Sunil Narine. Shubman Gill, who had scored a 65 in the previous game against Delhi Capitals as an opener was demoted to No.7.
Andre Russell lasted only 4 balls as Imran Tahir became only the 4th 40-year-old to take a 4-wicket haul in the Indian Premier League. There was little else from the KKR batsmen – Nitish Rana scored a quick 21 but not one batsman looked good enough to stay with Chris Lynn and play a supporting role.
Shardhul Thakur picked 2 for 18 off 4 overs to help Imran Tahir restrict Kolkata despite a fine knock from Chris Lynn. His 51-ball innings was studded with 7 fours and 6 sixes. It was an innings of the highest quality against a well-balanced bowling attack.
Kolkata Knight Riders have been overtly dependent on Andre Russell to bail them out of choppy waters after the middle-order had floundered. On Sunday, Russell had to endure a rare failure which meant there was no flourish at the end of the innings.
Shubman Gill’s demotion in the batting order was also a strange move given his talent and the way the others have struggled this season.