Brendon McCullum got to his half-century in 32 balls © IANS (File Photo)
By Nishad Pai Vaidya
May 2, 2014
The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 returned home with the Chennai Super Kings scoring 148 for three in a rain reduced game against the Kolkata Knight Riders at the JSCA International Stadium, Ranchi. Brendon McCullum‘s innings of 56 helped Chennai set the platform for a good score. The run-chase may not be too easy for Kolkata as there is a lot for the spinners in the pitch.
Just as MS Dhoni had called it right at his hometown and elected to bat, the rain came down at Ranchi. That resulted in the game being delayed by an hour and 40 minutes. Thus, it was reduced to a 17-overs-a-side contest. Chennai were unchanged coming into this game. However, Kolkata made two changes with Andre Russell replacing Morne Morkel and Yusuf Pathan coming back into the side in place of Manvinder Bisla.
Since its international debut early last year, it was clear that Ranchi surface is conducive to spin. And it was no surprise when Gautam Gambhir opened the bowling with Shakib Al Hasan and Sunil Narine. There was turn on offer immediately with Narine getting it to turn into the batsmen. Early in the third over, there was a scare for Dwayne Smith as he charged at one and was stumped. However, Shakib’s towel had fallen off his body during his run-up and it was called a dead ball.
Smith looked dangerous early on and to add to Shakib’s woes, he smashed him for a huge six next ball. But, Shakib had his revenge when he trapped him leg-before immediately.
Kolkata persisted with the spin in the first six overs. Narine bowled two and was kept for later as Piyush Chawla came in for the sixth. McCullum had moved into his zone by then and had found his strokes. Anything short and on a length, he smashed it with disdain over square-leg. He milked at least 20 runs off that stroke as he punished anything short by Kolkata.
Suresh Raina was also finding his touch with a few aggressive strokes and he sped away to 31 off 24 before Shakib returned to have him caught off a full-toss at long-on. Shakib’s figures of two for 25 were invaluable for Kolkata on the day. At the fall of Raina’s wicket, Dhoni walked in to huge cheers from the crowd.
McCullum got to his fifty off 32 balls when he pulled Jacques Kallis for a huge six over square-leg. However, in the slog overs, Chennai could not charge as one had expected and were losing a bit of momentum. Vinay Kumar bowled a good over and then Narine rolled two more to keep Chennai in check. Russell had McCullum in the 15th over for 56 when he holed out to the deep on the off-side.
Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja entertained the crowd with a few big ones towards the end to help Chennai regain momentum.
Chennai Super Kings 148 for 3 in 17 overs (Brendon McCullum 56, Suresh Raina 31; Shakib Al Hasan 2 for 25) vs Kolkata Knight Riders.
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