CSK players in action against KKR during their IPL match on Thursday. Courtesy: Twitter
Mohammad Abdullah, Staff Reporter
Ruturaj Gaikwad smashed his second consecutive fifty and Ravindra Jadeja hit an 11-ball 31 as Chennai Super Kings (CSK) dented Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) hopes of play-offs’ qualification with a six-wicket victory in Dubai on Thursday.
Chennai registered their second win on a trot after their hopes of a play-off berth were dashed following a dismal performance in the earlier matches of the tournament. In their last match, Chennai had defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by eight wickets.
By virtue of Chennai’s victory, Mumbai Indians, who are at the top of the standings with 16 points, became the first team to qualify for the play-offs.
Chasing a fighting total of 172, Chennai got off to a decent start as Shane Watson and Gaikwad added 50 runs for the first wicket to set the tone for a successful chase.
After the dismissal of Watson, Ambati Rayudu and Gaikwad shared a 68-run partnership and took the score to 118 in 13 overs. Patt Cummins got rid of Rayudu to bring Kolkata back into the game.
Mystery spinner Varun Chakravarty rattled the stumps of MS Dhoni in the next over to rekindle Kolkata’s hopes. Meanwhile, Gaikwad brought up his second fifty of the season with a couple off Nagarkoti. Cummins struck again after two overs and this time around he uprooted the stumps of Gaikwad as Kolkata started fancying their chances.
Chennai still needed 33 runs off 16 balls, with four wickets down. Curran and Jadeja shared an unbroken stand of 38 runs in 16 balls to take Chennai over the line. Chennai needed 10 off the last over. Nagarkoti bowled a dot ball to Curran, but on the next delivery he conceded a couple. On the third ball of the over, Curran again took a single and gave strike to Jadeja. Jadeja played a dot ball to bring the equation down to seven off two. Jadeja pulled Nagarkoti for a six at square leg off the penultimate ball of the match as Chennai needed only one run off the last ball. Kokata were trying to take the game into the Super over, but Jadeja again pulled the pacer for another six to see them through.
Earlier, Rana shared a 52-run opening stand with Shubman Gill to give Kolkata a sound start. Both the openers played cautiously and kept wickets in hand. Karn Sharma gave Chennai their first breakthrough by getting rid of Gill in the eighth over. After that Kolkata lost a couple of wickets in quick succession as Sunil Narine and RK Singh were dismissed cheaply.
Captain Morgan and Rana added 44 runs for the fourth wicket to take the score to 137/4 in 13 overs. Rana did most of the scoring. Morgan’s contribution was only 8 runs in the partnership. Ngidi brought respite to the Chennai camp by getting rid of Rana. He had the left-hander caught by Curran as Kolkata lost their fourth wicket. Curran’s innings was studded with 10 four and four sixes.
After his departure, Karthik, who conceded captaincy to Morgan after a series of failures, played a quick-fire 10-ball 21 cameo with the help of three boundaries. Morgan and Karthik shared a 30-run stand for the fifth wicket to help Kolkata post a fighting total. Morgan holed out to Gaekwad off Ngidi after scoring 15 off 12 balls. He hit two boundaries.
With the all-important play-offs berths still at stake, three of the four teams featuring in Sunday’s double-header will have the last chance to flourish and advance in the current edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) .
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