IPL 2020: Chennai Super Kings turn kingmaker and party spoiler
The three-time champions beat Kolkata Knight Riders by six wickets to blow play-off race wide open
Two hours before the Chennai Super Kings were to face off against the Kolkata Knight Riders, Rajasthan Royals had put out a tweet. It read: “Don’t say it. Our mind every 5 mins: #whistlepodu. The Sunrisers Hyderabad replied with “+1” and a grinning emoji.
Whistle podu, roughly translated from Tamil means ‘Blow the whistle’ and it has come to be associated with CSK.
The Chennai Super Kings may be out of contention for the IPL play-offs but they still wielded the power of a kingmaker and a party spoiler. So, it wasn't a surprise that the Royals and the Sunrisers were rooting for them.
And on Thursday night, at the ‘Ring of Fire’ — the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, the three-time champions turned into both, to blow the play-off race wide open.
Ravindra Jadeja’s pyrotechnics with the bat in a dramatic finish saw CSK nick it past the Kolkata Knight Riders by six wickets, chasing 173.
Their fifth victory may have done little for the basement dwellers but it did a whole lot for the others in the pecking order.
For one, it stamped arch-rivals Mumbai Indians’ entry into the play-offs, slimmed KKR’s chances, and then opened up a joust between Kings XI Punjab, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Rajasthan Royals and KKR too along with Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Delhi Capitals, heading into the home stretch.
The win for CSK came about thanks to Jadeja’s swashbuckling unbeaten 31 from 11 balls that had two fours and three sixes, the last two sealing it for them.
This was after young opener Ruturaj Gaikwad, the future of CSK, mounted a well-crafted 53-ball 72 studded with six boundaries and two sixes, his second successive fifty.
“Our captain always says to face any situation with a smile. It was difficult but I tried to do it. It made me stay in the present,” Man of the Match Gaikwad said at the post-match presentation.
“I knew if I got the opportunity to open and get my time, I would do well. So the confidence was there,” the 23-year-old added.
Meanwhile, Jadeja said: “I was hitting it well in the nets and just wanted to do that again. The last 12 balls you don't have to think too much, just see the ball and hit the ball. I was just looking to keep my shape and back my strength. I knew if they bowl in my arc, I could hit the six, it was simple.”
Jadeja, playing his 250th T20 game, joined Sam Curran with CSK still needing 29 off 12 deliveries.
And with 20 runs coming off the penultimate over bowled by Lockie Ferguson, which also included a Jadeja six from a free hit, it was down to 10 required off the last over bowled by Kamlesh Nagarkoti.
And the young pacer bowled a good four balls before Jadeja smacked him for a six over midwicket to leave them needing one from one. Jadeja wrapped it up with a six.
Earlier, opener Nitish Rana came up with his highest IPL score as the Kolkata Knight Riders posted a competitive total.
The stylish southpaw scored 87 from 61 deliveries with the help of 10 boundaries and four sixes as the two-time champions came up with 172 for the loss of five wickets, after being told to bat.
It was Rana’s third half-century of the season after he had made 58 against the Delhi Capitals in Sharjah and 81, also against the Capitals, in Abu Dhabi. In the process, Rana also ushered in his 11th half-century of his IPL career as well as completing 1000 runs for KKR.
Much like the Kolkata Knight Riders openers, the Chennai Super Kings too began well with their openers Gaikwad and Shane Watson setting the tone for the chase. And Gaikwad continued from where he had left off against the Royal Challengers Bangalore the other night, by playing some fine strokes.
Kolkata Knight Riders: 172-5 in 20 overs (Nitish Rana 87, Shubman Gill 26, Dinesh Karthik 21 not out, Eoin Morgan 15, Lungi Ngidi 2-34) lost to Chennai Super Kings: 178-4 in 20 overs (Ruturaj Gaikwad 72, Ambati Rayudu 38, Ravindra Jadeja 31 not out, Sam Curran 13 not out, Varun Chakravarthy 2-20, Pat Cummins 2-31) by 6 wickets.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Eoin Morgan (C), Rinku Singh, Sunil Narine, Pat Cummins, Lockie Ferguson, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Varun Chakravarthy.
Chennai Super Kings: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (C) (wk), N Jagadeesan, Sam Curran, Ravindra Jadeja, Mitchell Santner, Karn Sharma, Deepak Chahar, Lungi Ngidi.
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