CSK, KKR
Ravindra Jadeja [Photo-Twitter]
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Ruturaj Gaikwad’s majestic 53-ball 72 followed by yet another Ravindra Jadeja’s cameo [31 not-out off 11 balls] helped Chennai Super Kings [CSK] to complete a six-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders on Thursday.

Chasing 173, the opening duo of Shane Watson and Ruturaj Gaikwad came out with intent against the KKR bowling group. Shane Watson rolled back the years with his typical backfoot pull over deep mid-wicket off Kamlesh Nagarkoti while Ruturaj Gaikwad [72 off 53 balls] picked up from where he had left in the last game against CSK.

Whether it was the spin of Varun Chakravarthy or the pace of Lockie Ferguson and Pat Cummins, young Gaikwad just oozed class in his strokeplay, the most memorable of them being his lofted drive over Ferguson’s head for a boundary followed by a lofted check drive over long-off for a six against Chakravarthy.

KKR, CSK
Ruturaj Gaikwad [Photo-BCCI/Twitter]
CSK made full use of the powerplay for the second game in a row, managing 44 runs without the loss of any wicket. But just like KKR, CSK almost immediately lost their first wicket after the powerplay thanks to Varun Chakravarthy, who got rid of Shane Watson after the Australian failed to connect the slog over long-on.

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Ambati Rayudu took five balls to settle before he smoked Nitish Rana for three consecutive boundaries in the 10th over to take the total to 1-74.

Ruturaj Gaikwad, on the other hand, continued to ooze class as he smashed  Ferguson for an authoritative backfoot punch before rocking back on the back foot for an authoritative pull. Gaikwad completed his second consecutive fifty in the 12th over as CSK completed their 100 to reduce the equation to 73 off the last eight.

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KKR, CSK
Ambati Rayudu [Photo-BCCI/IPL]
Ambati Rayudu looked in great touch today. The right-hander smashed Nagarkoti and Cummins for a six and consecutive boundaries before finally holing out to Sunil Narine following a mistimes stroke over mid-off.

The stage was perfectly set for MS Dhoni to provide the finishing touches but the skipper once again succumbed to Varun Chakravarty- this time courtesy of a sharp googly that proceeded to shatter his stumps. Just 21 runs came off the next 23 balls and with 41 required off the last 21, Gaikwad slog-swept Ferguson for a much-needed boundary.

But, with constant boundaries the order of the day, one shot proved too many for Gaikwad as he failed to connect the scoop and was castled by Pat Cummins. With 33 needed off 16 balls, CSK needed Ravindra Jadeja to pull-off yet another cameo.

But Cummins displayed a masterclass in bowling in the blockhole ensuring that he gave away just 4 runs. Lockie Ferguson [0-54 in 4 overs] bowled three brilliant deliveries in the next over before Ravindra Jadeja just laid into the fast bowler by smoking him for two boundaries and a six to bring the equation down to 10 off 6. Kamlesh Nagarkoti displayed brilliant control in the first four deliveries but Jadeja had the last laugh as he launched him for two sixes to seal an epic heist for his team.

Nitish Rana’s 61-ball 87 propelled KKR to 5-172 in 20 overs

Batting first, Shubman Gill came out with clear intent right from the outset. The talented opener smashed Deepak Chahar for consecutive boundaries on the first two balls of the game before displaying his class with a front-foot pull over mid-wicket in the next over.

Nitish Rana struggled against the pace bowlers in the first 5 overs but he made up for it by smashing Mitchell Santner for two fours and six in the 6th over to ensure that KKR notched up their best powerplay score this season- 0-48.

CSK struck immediately after the first time-out thanks to Karn Sharma, who knocked over Shubman Gill (26 off 17 balls) with a flatter delivery. KKR promoted Sunil Narine to take advantage of the spin duo of Santner and Karn Sharma.

KKR, CSK
Mitchell Santner [Photo-BCCI/IPL]
But the move backfired as Narine holed out at deep mid-wicket for a run-a-ball 7 of the bowling off Mitchell Santner.

With just 22 runs coming between overs 6-10, Nitish Rana pressed on the accelerator in the 11th over as he smashed Santner for consecutive boundaries to take the total to 82.

KKR promoted Rinku Singh ahead of Eoin Morgan and Dinesh Karthik, but like Narine’s experiment, this ploy also failed as Singh managed an 11-ball 11 before holing out to Ravindra Jadeja in the 13th over. Rana brought up his second half-century in his three innings with a single in the 14th over.

KKR, CSK
Nitish Rana [Photo-BCCI/IPL]
Rana teed off after getting his half-century by smashing Karn Sharma for three consecutive sixes in the 16th over to take his side to 3-125. Rana continued with the onslaught, smoking Deepak Chahar for two boundaries to notch up his highest-ever IPL score (87*). Lungi Ngidi ended the onslaught as Rana failed to connect the slower delivery, giving Sam Curran an easy catch.

Dinesh Karthik [21 off 10 balls] and Eoin Morgan’s assault ensured that KKR eventually posted 5-172- 102 runs in the last 10 overs- in 20 overs.

Here’s how Twitter reacted to the match:

 

Yash Mittal

Just a student of this beautiful game called cricket. Writer. Storyteller.