Fielding follies and failure to come good against disciplined bowling cost Super Kings

Kolkata Knight Riders outperformed the in-form Chennai Super Kings and won by eight wickets in an IPL-7 match at the Eden Gardens on Tuesday. With its batting coming good once again, the home side cruised to its fifth straight win to brighten its knock-out chances.

Put in to bat, CSK made 154 for four which KKR surpassed easily with two overs to spare. Man-of-the-match Robin Uthappa (67) and Shakib Al Hasan (46 not out, 6x4, 2x6) played the lead roles for the host.

The Knight Riders’ bowling sought to retain the composure that has characterised its comeback in the tournament. Gautam Gambhir altered his bowling options with uncharacteristic frequency as he looked to dent the aggressive Super Kings’ batting. He used four of his five specialist bowlers in the first five overs.

Gambhir’s ploy was not off target as the Australian pacer Patrick Cummins cleaned up the doughty Dwayne Smith in his opening over. But Brendon McCullum had other ideas as broke free in Cummins’ second over, with two big sixes and a boundary, to collect 16 runs and put the Australian pacer in his place.

Suresh Raina hit Sunil Narine’s first ball into the overflowing galleries as Gambhir brought in his most potent weapon while looking to rein in a runaway opposition. The host did hold up CSK’s incessant run flow as all-rounder Shakib, Piyush Chawla and speedster Umesh Yadav showed good discipline. CSK was restricted to 59 for one at the halfway stage, which was enough to ensure that the visitor did not get a comfortable launch pad.

CSK managed some intermittent big shots in the second half of the innings as Raina took the fight to a determined host. The left-hander, who had made an unbeaten 62 in his team’s previous outing, struck five sixes and three boundaries in his 65 to ensure that CSK managed a fighting total. He partnered Faf du Plessis (23) in a 62-run stand for the third wicket as CSK set up a 155-run target on an even-paced wicket.

Uthappa should be counting himself fortunate, surviving two chances within a span of 14 balls, while giving KKR the desired start.

R. Ashwin put down a straight-forward chance in the first slip as Uthappa, batting on six, edged an out-swinger from pacer Ben Hilfenhaus in the first over. Next it was Raina, whose diving effort went in vain as the dashing right-hander edged Mohit Sharma in the third over.

The ‘lives’ were well accepted by the KKR opener as he went on to score an explosive 67 (39b, 10x4, 1x6) to put the host on the victory path. Gambhir gave the perfect support to him and figured in a 64-run opening wicket stand that was utilised by the host to drive home the win.

Scoreboard

Chennai Super Kings: Dwayne Smith b Cummins 5 (6b, 1x4), Brendon McCullum c Yadav b Narine 28 (24b, 1x4, 2x6), Suresh Raina c ten Doeschate b Chawla 65 (52b, 3x4,5x6), Faf du Plessis run out 23 (20b, 2x4), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (not out) 21 (15b, 1x4, 1x6), Ravindra Jadeja (not out) 9 (4b, 1x6); Extras (nb-1, w-2): 3; Total (for four wkts. in 20 overs): 154.

Fall of wickets: 1-5 (Smith), 2-60 (McCullum), 3-122 (du Plessis), 4-129 (Raina).

Kolkata Knight Riders bowling: Shakib Al Hasan 4-0-30-0, Patrick Cummins 4-1-29-1, Umesh Yadav 4-0-29-0, Sunil Narine 4-0-24-1, Piyush Chawla 4-0-42-1.

Kolkata Knight Riders: Robin Uthappa c du Plessis b Jadeja 67 (39b, 10x4, 1x6), Gautam Gambhir b Pandey 21 (20b, 3x4), Manish Pandey (not out) 18 (28b), Shakib Al Hasan (not out) 46 (21b, 6x4, 2x6); Extras (lb-3, w-1): 4; Total (for two wkts. in 18 overs): 156.

Fall of wickets: 1-64 (Gambhir), 2-98 (Uthappa).

Chennai Super Kings bowling: Ben Hilfenhaus 3-0-38-0, Ishwar Pandey 4-0-31-1, Mohit Sharma 3-0-28-0, R. Ashwin 4-0-24-0, Ravindra Jadeja 3-0-23-1, Suresh Raina 1-0-9-0.

Man-of-the-match: Robin Uthappa

KKR won by 8 wkts with two overs to spare