Kolkata Knight Riders self-destruct against Chennai Super Kings after strong start

Chennai Super Kings were helped by some suicidal running between the wickets and loose shots from Kolkata Knight Riders © IANS

Kolkata: Apr 20, 2013

Chennai Super Kings fought back to restrict Kolkata Knight Riders to 119 for nine in 20 overs in the repeat of last year’s final of the Indian Premier League (IPL). KKR were off to a flier via Gautam Gambhir and Yusuf Pathan, before one too many moments of sheer idiocy from the home side, Chennai were able to set themselves what looks like an wasy chase.
 
Kolkata pulled the rabbit out of the hat early on by sending Pathan to open the batting with skipper Gambhir, after the latter won the toss and elected to bat. Manvinder Bisla was dropped for the game, despite his match-winning knock against the same opponents in last year’s final.
 
Coach Trevor Bayliss had put his faith in the burly Baroda man before the match, despite Pathan’s failure to carry on from good starts, saying that he “is a match-winner when he comes off”. Bayliss had even hinted at using Pathan at a different position, but not many in the Chennai camp would have expected him to open the batting.
 
Pathan made his intentions clear right from the start as he murdered anything that was pitched short of good length. The powerful swing of the blade was in full flow as Pathan hammered Mohit Sharma to the deep square-leg and deep mid-wicket fence to get KKR off to a great start. Gambhir offered his usual shots as well, including a crisp backfoot cover drive that perfectly dissected the off-side field.
 
It took two stunning efforts in the field from Chennai to put a roadblock on the gush of runs. First, it was the veteran Michael Hussey, who by now perhaps must himself be wondering why he quit international cricket. Hussey, fielding at deep third man plucked a catch out of nowhere after Gambhir went for the big square-cut off Chris Morris. Hussey ran in to his left and dived to take a spectacular low catch to give Chennai the breakthrough totally against the run of play.
 
Subramanium Badrinath, fielding at gully, then decided to go one-up on his senior teammate. Pathan placed Mohit Sharma towards point and set off for a quick single. Badrinath swooped in to collect the ball square of the wicket and flung it towards the one stump he had to aim at, and was right on the money as Jacques Kallis found himself yards out. 46 for none had become 47 for two, and it was soon to go even more downhill for the hosts.
 
Eoin Morgan, one of KKR’s stars with the bat in the competition, misjudged the pace of Dwayne Bravo’s slower one and swooped it straight down Ravindra Jadeja’s throat at mid-wicket.

In yet another moment of madness, Pathan flicked Bravo towards a vacant mid-wicket area and went for the run as the bowler himself ran down to collect the ball. Pathan and Manoj Tiwary contemplated the second run and spent a couple of crucial seconds staring at each other halfway down the pitch as Bravo slid down, picked the ball up, slipped and still got the throw in towards Dhoni in time to find Pathan short of his crease. 

From 46 to none to 55 for four in a matter of 13 balls. Brett Lee, sitting in the dug-out, could not believe what had just happened; neither did the majority present at the Eden. However, KKR’s self-destruction still hadn’t reached its peak.
 
The remaining batsmen tried a lot to gift their wickets away, going for more suicidal runs and chipping the ball in the air. Chennai could not capitalise at first, with Dhoni missing a catch and a run out behind the sticks, but eventually the number of chances Kolkata provided were enough for the visitors to restrict them to 119 for nine.

Brief Scores: Kolkata Knight Riders 119 for 9 in 20 overs (Gautam Gambhir 25, Yusuf Pathan 25; Ravindra Jadeja 3 for 20, Ravichandran Ashwin 2 for 21) vs Chennai Super Kings.

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