IPL 2021: CSK keep their wits after Cummins' carnage

James Jose/Dubai
Filed on April 21, 2021
Faf du Plessis scored an unbeaten 95 for the Chennai Super Kings on Wednesday night. — BCCI/IPL

The Australian takes Kolkata Knight Riders to the brink of victory but is left stranded

Pat Cummins threatened but the Chennai Super Kings kept their wits about themselves to pull off a nerve-wracking victory over the Kolkata Knight Riders in Mumbai on Wednesday night.

The Kolkata Knight Riders chase had gone well and truly south in their pursuit of 221 but Cummins, playing his 100th T20 match, had kept them in the game with a battling knock after Andre Russell and Dinesh Karthik had made a contest out of it. But two run outs meant that the Australian ran out of partners and was left stranded as three-time champions the Chennai Super Kings scratched to an 18-run win with five balls to spare at the Wankhede.

The Kolkata Knight Riders had a horror start to their pursuit of 221 with medium pacer Deepak Chahar turning the heat on yet again by scything through the top order like a hot knife through butter to leave them 31-4. KKR then lost half their side after South African pacer Lungi Ngidi struck to remove Rahul Tripathi.

With openers Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, captain Eoin Morgan, Sunil Narine and Tripathi back, the Knight Riders had slipped into a deep hole and it was a depressing looking KKR dug-out.

But Dinesh Karthik and Andre Russell resuscitated the faltering innings and counter-attacked with a crucial 81-run stand from 39 balls, for the sixth wicket.

Russell, who had gone without smashing a six in the IPL at the Wankhede Stadium, biffed half a dozen of them along with three boundaries for a swashbuckling 54 from 22 deliveries, his ninth fifty in 78 matches and 65 innings.

But Sam Curran put an end to his knock and the dangerous partnership between the two, with the 22-year-old English left-arm pacer having the big-hitting West Indian castled.

Karthik, who joined an elite list of players to play 200 matches in the IPL, after CSK skipper MS Dhoni and Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma, then added 34 from 22 balls with Pat Cummins, for the seventh wicket.

But Karthik too was to go at a crucial juncture, falling leg before to Ngidi, with KKR needing 75 runs with five overs left.

Cummins coshed a 23-ball half-century and brought the equation down to 28 required from 12 deliveries. But Varun Chakravarthy and Prasidh Krishna were run out as Cummins remained not out on 66 from 34 balls during which he smacked six sixes and four boundaries.

Earlier, the Chennai Super Kings were well served by their openers Faf du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad as they racked up a mammoth total.

The pair flayed the Kolkata Knights Riders bowling attack to make attacking half-centuries and help CSK post 220 for three. Du Plessis was left five runs short of a maiden IPL century as the finished their allotment of overs but his 17th fifty and his partner Gaikwad’s fourth, saw CSK come up with a stiff total.

The duo were involved in a 115-run stand from 77 deliveries for the opening wicket as the Chennai Super Kings raced to 54 for no loss in the powerplay and 82 for no wicket at the end of 10 overs.

Moeen Ali continued his run of decent scores by knocking a 12-ball 25 with two boundaries and an equal number of sixes, while MS Dhoni came up with 17 from eight balls with two boundaries and a six.

Du Plessis, Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja biffed four sixes and four boundaries at the back end as 138 runs came from the second half of their innings. It continued CSK’s hot-streak of big runs in the last 10 overs over the previous three games after they had racked up 106 runs against the Rajasthan Royals and 117 against last year’s runners-up Delhi Capitals.

The Chennai Super Kings made one change with Ngidi replacing Dwayne Bravo. The Kolkata Knight Riders, meanwhile, had two changes with off-spinner Sunil Narine and Kamlesh Nagarkoti coming in for Harbhajan Singh and Shakib Al Hasan, respectively.

The Chennai Super Kings’ next fixture is a south derby with the two-time champions taking on Royal Challengers Bangalore, the only unbeaten team on the table, on April 25, while the Kolkata Knight Riders meet Rajasthan Royals on April 24.

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