Chennai, April 10: PHEW! At the end of a run glut that saw the two protagonists scoring a combined 407 runs in 39.5 overs, Chennai Super Kings stood as a five-wicket winner over Kolkata Knight Riders in an Indian Premier League match at the M A Chidambaram stadium here on Tuesday (April 10).
Let's the get the numbers out of our way quickly. Asked to bat first after heavy protests over Cauvery water issue threatened to spoil the match, Kolkata scored a massive 202/6 in 20 overs and Chennai Super Kings made their homecoming after a gap of two years memorable trumping it with 205/5 in 19.5 overs.
Chasing a target of that proportions require a big beginning and Chennai Super Kings did precisely that. Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu added 75 runs off 5.5 overs and that scoring at nearly 13 runs per over set the perfect tone for the hosts.
CSK CSK CSK what a match... @sambillings you beauty 👊 @ShaneRWatson33 superb job once again with bat an ball @RayuduAmbati hitting the ball sweet... thanks all the fans for coming and cheering in big numbers #yellowarmy #whitslepodu @ChennaiIPL pic.twitter.com/1uncBIV933— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) April 10, 2018
After the departure of Watson and Rayudu, there was a period of lull as Suresh Raina, who seemed to struggle with a hamstring niggle, and skipper MS Dhoni failed to find rhythm and timing against KKR spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Sunil Narine. But the arrival of Sam Billings (56 off 23b, 2x4, 5x6) changed the Chennai innings.
The Englishman played some calculative cricketing shots and kept Chennai firmly in the chase. Billings was not there till the end as he holed out Tom Curran to Robin Uthappa at deep with 17 required off eight balls.
Hot in form Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja ensured that Chennai Super Kings cross the line with a ball to spare. Jadeja garnished the winning moment with a massive six off R Vinay Kumar.
But don't forget to spare a moment for Andre Russel who made an exceptional 88 of 36 balls with a four and 11 sixes.
At the end of 15 overs, Kolkata were 123/5 with Russel and skipper Dinesh Karthik on crease. But in the next 30 balls they hammered 79 runs and Russel made an incredible 68 runs in that.
The West Indian was severe on his teammate Bravo hammering him for three successive sixes including a mammoth out of the stadium 105 metre effort which saw the ball getting replaced.
There were some distasteful moments in the form of a section of spectators throwing sandals on to the ground and a few of them hitting South African Faf du Plessis near the dug out. The Chennai police arrested and removed the disruptive elements. But nothing could take the sheen out of Russel's innings.
It was monster hitting at its best but on this night it remained just that - a mere foot note.