This was KKR’s third successive defeat after a rampaging start to the season. Irresponsible shots from the batsmen, over-dependence on Andre Russel to do the bulk of the scoring towards the end and some uninspiring bowling from the pacers sunk the boat for KKR.
Being put in to bat by Dhoni on a pitch that played well throughout, KKR got off to a good start courtesy Lynn’s special liking for Chahar. Wickets kept tumbling at the other end, however, Lynn kept going strong at one end, which also saw him smashing three successive sixes off Jadeja in the 14th over. At 121/3 after 14, KKR must have been aiming at a score of 190+. But it was not to be, they lost both Lynn & Russel in the 15th over and failed to score a single boundary after the 16th over. The end result was them scampering to a mediocre score of 161/8.
Prasidh Krishna and Russel leaked runs in the beginning before Sunil Narine could put some brakes on the scoring with a wicket-maiden 6th over. But the inability of any other bowler to provide support to Narine or to defy what has become a clinical approach to CSK’s chases cost KKR the match. There was a faint hope after the 18th over when the equation got down to 24 of 12, but Gurney’s costly 19th over sealed the match in CSK’s favour.
Lynn top-scored for KKR with 82(51) that included six maximums, but the rest of the team could manage only 70 of 69 balls. Sunil Narine bowled an impressive spell of 4-1-19-2. And, while Chawla did pick up two wickets, he could not really put much pressure thus resulting in KKR’s third loss within a week.
CSK raced off to their fourth successive win, thus widening the gulf between it and the second-ranked Delhi Capitals. A bowling effort that was praiseworthy, catching that defied the average age of the team and a chase that could now be patented by Dhoni & Co., it would be a shocker if CSK does not top the points table in a few weeks’ time.
Opting to bowl first, and with a rare exception of Chahar not bowling at least three overs at a go, CSK’s bowlers never let the KKR batsmen run away with the match. Tahir took two wickets each in the 10th & 15th overs to break the back of KKR’s batting order. The real display of the canniness of CSK’s bowlers came towards the end when they allowed KKR to score only 29 of the last 32 balls of the innings. And some brilliant catching in the field by Faf & Co. added the icing on the cake.
After Watson’s early departure, Faf scored four successive boundaries in Russel’s third over before falling in the sixth over. Raina then started doing what he has done for almost 12 seasons now - keeping the scoreboard ticking while scoring the occasional boundary. Rayudu, Jadhav & Dhoni could not make much impact but it was Jadeja, whose batting abilities have been under scrutiny for quite some time, came to the party. He scored 31*(17) and more than made up for the poor display with the ball.
Tahir was deservingly adjudged the MoM after a spell of 4-0-27-4. He also moved to the second spot in the race for the ‘Purple Cap’ with 13 wickets this season. Shardul too came good with the ball and had figures of 4-0-18-2 to show off. Raina top-scored for CSK with a 43 ball 58* which was also his 36th IPL fifty.
KKR will next host RCB on the 19th before traveling to Hyderabad to lock their horns with SRH. Even though they are placed at the third position, which is courtesy of their superior NRR, they must have started to feel the pangs of a difficult second half. Both Uthappa & Rana should have some explaining to do with the way they threw their wickets. It also seems that the Narine experiment might have run its course. It’s high time that the middle-order starts scoring and the bowlers begin performing as a unit.
After humbling the home teams at Sawai Man Singh stadium & the Eden Gardens, CSK will now host SRH & RCB within the comforts of their home during this week. Despite the continued failure of Watson, Rayudu & Jadhav, knowing Dhoni, not much change is expected unless Bravo comes back. Sam Billings might get some game time in place of Watson though. CSK has well and truly bossed this tournament until now, and given their form, they are well on their way to topping the points table with some margin.
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