An opening stand of 115 between Faf du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad laid the platform for a daunting total of 220 for three for Chennai Super Kings who duly beat the Kolkata Knight Riders by 18-runs despite a staggering fightback which saw KKR recover from 31 for five to make 202 all out in their IPL match at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Wednesday.
Chennai seamer Deepak Chahar (4-0-29-4) claimed all of his wickets inside the first five overs of the run chase to reduce the Knight Riders to an apparently hopeless 31 for five inside the power play and, despite a belligerent fightback by Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik and Pat Cummins, the result was a foregone conclusion.
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Russell smashed an extraordinary 54 from only 22 deliveries (3×4, 6×6) and Karthik wasn’t far behind with 40 from 24 balls (4×4, 2×6) but the collapse of the top five, none of whom reached double figures, was fatal.
Russell was cleverly bowled behind his legs by left-armer Sam Curran and Karthik was trapped lbw by an equally clever slower ball from Lungi Ngidi.
Cummins added another blistering 66 from 34 balls (4×4, 6×6) but the Super Kings weathered the storm with Lungi Ngidi claiming a calm 3-28 in his four overs.
Gaikwad smashed six fours and four sixes in his 64 from 42 balls before he was well caught by Pat Cummins at deep midwicket off legspinner Arun Chakravarthy in the 13th over but Du Plessis went on to top score with an unbeaten 95 from 60 balls with nine fours and four sixes.
The former Proteas captain lashed Cummins for two sixes in the final over, including a breath-taking backfoot drive over long off.
The world’s No 1 ranked bowler conceded an eye-watering 58 runs from his four overs after Ravindra Jadeja also hit the last ball of the innings for six.
England’s Moeen Ali hit mystery spinner Sunil Narine (4-0-34-1) for two sixes in his cameo of 25 from 12 balls to increase the momentum before Narine had him stumped by Dinesh Karthik.
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Super Kings captain MS Dhoni declined to promote in-form big-hitters Sam Curran or Jadeja and briefly showed glimpses of his vintage form with two fours and a pulled six during his 17 from eight balls.
An opening loss for the Super Kings has been followed by three resounding victories to put them on top of the log alongside Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Capitals.
The Knight Riders have now lost three of their first four games.
Sunrisers crush Punjab
Earlier in the day, Sunrisers Hyderabad got off the mark in convincing style when they beat the Punjab Kings by nine wickets at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
Batting has always been difficult on the stadium’s slow, sticky pitch that takes lots of turn, but the Sunrisers adapted far better than Punjab.
Sunrisers, who had lost their first three matches, were given a solid start of 73 in 64 balls by David Warner and Jonny Bairstow after they had dismissed Punjab for 120 in 19.4 overs – the lowest total so far in Chennai in this year’s competition.
The two openers took advantage of some indifferent bowling in the power play but also ran brilliantly between the wickets, sprinting ones and twos when boundaries were difficult to find.
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Warner (37 in 37 balls) eventually fell to the first ball of the 11th over when he pulled West Indian spinner Fabian Allen to Mayank Agarwal on the midwicket boundary who took a good running catch.
It was to Sunrisers’ huge advantage, at that moment, that the ultra-cool Kane Williamson, playing his first match of the tournament after recovering from injury, came in next. The Kiwi, clinical as always, simply rotated the strike with Bairstow as the two men milked the bowlers as they calmly pursued their victory target with out needing to play big shots.
Punjab didn’t help themselves with two run-outs, including that of Nicholas Pooran who failed to face a ball before being called for a tight single by his West Indian teammate Gayle.