Ravindra Jadeja set off the fireworks just when Chennai Super Kings needed them most. The all-rounder showed guts and gumption to hit a flurry of boundaries and sixes to give Super Kings a four-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens on Saturday.
Jadeja, one of the costliest acquisitions of the Chennai franchise, was the most outstanding player of the day outshining everyone with both the bat and the ball. Jadeja picked up three wickets to restrict the host to 119 for nine before he resurrected the CSK innings with an unbeaten 36 off just 14 balls, just when it appeared to be drifting off course.
Replying to a modest target of 120 Chennai Super Kings failed to start well after promoting R. Ashwin to partner opener Michael Hussey. The King’s plan was foiled by the KKR’s Sunil Narine as Ashwin was caught in the midwicket when he failed to read the ‘magic’ West Indian off-break bowler.
The wicket in the fifth over gave the host the required impetus as Murali Vijay (2), who came after Ashwin, was declared leg-before trying to sweep Sri Lankan Sachitra Senanayake, who operated in tandem with Narine. Suresh Raina (7) and the captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (9) failed to justify their reputation in the King’s middle order. Raina was caught near the rope as he tried to loft Yusuf Pathan while Dhoni, who is always eager for quick runs was run-out on the non-striker’s by a diving effort from Morgan.
As Hussey (40) and S. Badrinath (6) departed next, putting the visitor in bigger trouble at 89 for six, Jadeja came in to the rescue and singlehandedly took the Super Kings out of the woods.
Earlier, an outstanding effort from the veteran Michael Hussey changed the course of action in favour of CSK when the hosts started on an explosive note.
The 37-year-old Australian batsman camp up with a for a diving catch running in a few paces in the third man when the KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir was going great guns. Gambhir’s departure broke the spine and KKR crumbled like a castle of cards as CKS bowling gained in sharpness following that superlative effort from Hussey.
The host began on a brisk note promoting the otherwise explosive Yusuf Pathan, who has had a docile run so far in the tournament, to open. The host dropped off-colour opener Manvinder Bisla bringing in all-rounder Laxmi Ratan Shukla. The KKR opening pair dominated the first five overs where Gambhir-Pathan pair struck eight boundaries. The moment Gambhir departed in the sixth over trying to find the ropes with a mighty slice on a rising delivery from pacer Chris Morris, the KKR batting lost its foundation.
The host lost its best batsmen in next two overs as Jacques Kallis(0) and Eoin Morgan (2) walked back to the dug-out. Kallis was run out by a brilliantly by S. Badrinath, who hit the stumps from an acute angle from the backward point.
Morgan was scalped by a slower one from bravo. The host batting had lost its sheen by the eighth over before the spinners — Ashwin and Jadeja — came in to demolish the host’s batting completely. Jadeja picked up three and Aswin scalped two as the Eden wicket gave them good assistance and KKR fell to their guile.