Chennai Super Kings put in a clinical performance to kick-start the India leg of the IPL 2014 © IANS (File Photo)
By Nishad Pai Vaidya
May 2, 2014
On MS Dhoni‘s turf at Ranchi, the Chennai Super Kings beat the Kolkata Knight Riders by 34 runs in a rain-reduced Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 encounter. As soon as the toss was done and Dhoni chose to bat, the rain came down and delayed the game by an hour and 40 minutes. This meant that it was a 17 overs-a-side contest. Brendon McCullum set the tone with an innings of 56 that took Chennai to 148 for three and then Ravindra Jadeja‘s remarkable spell of four for 12 strangled Kolkata to seal a comprehensive win for Chennai.
On a slow surface at Ranchi, the spinners made merry with all the help on offer. Kolkata realized that early and introduced an overdose of spin. Shakib Al Hasan opened the bowling with Sunil Narine. There was turn early on and both McCullum and Dwayne Smith were in an attacking mode. However, Shakib dismissed Smith in the third over for 16.
McCullum was on song. Anything pitched short was dismissed with disdain over the leg-side. It didn’t matter if it was a spinner or a seamer, McCullum pulled anything that was short. He also got to his half-century by pulling Kallis for six. Even as he went about dominating the bowling, Suresh Raina too did his job with some delightful strokes during his 25 ball 31. For Kolkata, Shakib was the pick of the bowlers with two for 25 in his four overs.
It is interesting to note that 11 out of the 17 overs were bowled by the spinners during the Chennai innings. Narine’s two overs were saved for the death and he reduced the damage at the end by bowling in the tight areas. However, Dhoni and Jadeja essayed a few big hits for the end off the other bowlers to help Chennai finish on 148.
Kolkata changed their opening combination with Robin Uthappa walking in with Gautam Gambhir. Uthappa looked in great touch and rolled back the years when he used to smash the bowlers fearlessly in the India jersey. There was that typical drive and a cut for four, not to forget a pull in front of the wicket for six. However, it all went awry at the other end once Gambhir was dismissed in the third over while trying an impossible single and Kallis followed soon after.
But, the over that turned the match in Chennai’s favour was the fifth bowled by Jadeja. Manish Pandey lobbed one straight to cover and Shakib had a brainwave as he smashed his first delivery down square-leg’s throat. From that point it was a struggle for Kolkata as they couldn’t get going. Jadeja returned to add to their misery as he dismissed Suryakumar Yadav and Uthappa as Chennai were closing onto the game.
There were some fireworks by Yusuf Pathan at the end, but the task was just too enormous. Kolkata would be relieved though that he found touch as he is an important player when on form. That is about the only consolation from this game.
Mohit Sharma almost took a hat-trick to finish the game, but one would say his performance was the icing on the cake. Chennai walk away with the honours and are looking ominous in the IPL 7.
Chennai Super Kings 148 for 3 in 17 overs (Brendon McCullum 56, Suresh Raina 31; Shakib Al Hasan 2 for 25) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 114 for 9 in 17 overs (Robin Uthappa 47; Ravindra Jadeja 4 for 12, Mohit Sharma 3 for 22) by 34 runs.
Man of the Match: Ravindra Jadeja
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