Brendon McCullum and Brad Hodge power the chase
CENTURION: Captain Brendon McCullum made an explosive 81 (48b, 11x4, 3x6) and Brad Hodge scored a marvellously-paced, unbeaten 71 (44b, 4x4, 4x6), as Kolkata Knight Riders clinched a seven-wicket win off the last ball against Chennai Super Kings on Monday. Kolkata successfully chased Chennai’s score of 188 for only its second win in 13 matches this season.
McCullum, who had begun by edging Albie Morkel over slip for four, batted beautifully thereafter, hitting on the up over cover and pulling with skill. Sourav Ganguly looked in wretched form, swishing and missing often. He was put out of his misery by Muttiah Muralitharan, who cramped the left-hander into chopping on.
McCullum struck Sudeep Tyagi for four fours and six in the sixth over, each stroke going exactly where he intended it. He played Muralitharan with care, but that didn’t prevent him for guiding a doosra to the third-man fence and leaning back to flat-bat a short delivery through cover for four.
McCullum’s blitz helped Kolkata score 83 for one in ten overs before the strategic timeout. But after reducing the deficit between runs needed and balls remaining, McCullum departed in bizarre circumstances: he attempted to heave left-arm spinner Shadab Jakati and missed. Dhoni disturbed the stumps and appealed. Replays showed that the ball had brushed the stumps, dislodging the bails — therefore bowling the batsman — before Dhoni touched the stumps. Replays also showed that Dhoni was aware of exactly what had happened.
Hodge and Wriddhiman Saha didn’t give up, finding the boundary and scurrying between wickets. Hodge, who held his nerve admirably, hit L. Balaji for two sixes in the 19th over, and Saha struck the same bowler for four to reduce the equation to six from the final over. Suresh Raina bowled the last over, but couldn’t contain Hodge and Saha.
Chennai begins well
Electing to bat, Chennai didn’t appear to miss Matthew Hayden, who was rested because of a thigh niggle. George Bailey and Parthiv Patel set a rapid pace, scoring at nearly ten an over while raising 59 for the first wicket. After Ashok Dinda conceded just five in the first over, Parthiv struck Anureet Singh for two fours to kick-start the innings. Bailey then hit consecutive fours off Dinda, the first a particularly meaty pull stroke, as the charge got underway.
Although both openers were run out, Suresh Raina and M.S. Dhoni had no trouble maintaining the brisk rate of scoring. Dhoni clubbed David Hussey for Chennai’s first six, and followed it up by nearly decapitating Ajit Agarkar, who had just enough time in his follow through to get out of the way of a ferocious straight hit. Agarkar responded with a sharp bouncer, which Dhoni couldn’t control, but Kartik, at mid wicket, spilled the chance. Dhoni was on 16 at that stage.
Dinda bowled a magnificent 15th over, giving away only two singles. But Raina swung the momentum by striking Ajantha Mendis for two sixes, the second featuring splendid skill, for it was no more than a flick of the wrists. Mendis’s over cost 17. Raina smashed Dinda for six to bring up his half-century, but fell next ball, mis-hitting a full toss to be caught at point. Dinda finished with figures of one for 29 from four overs.
Morkel struck Agarkar for consecutive sixes in the 20th over, as Chennai finished strongly.
Chennai Super Kings: Parthiv (run out) 25 (19b, 4x4), G. Bailey (run out) 30 (26b, 4x4), S. Raina c Shukla b Dinda 52 (37b, 3x4, 3x6), M.S. Dhoni (not out) 40 (28b, 4x4, 1x6), A. Morkel (not out) 21 (10b, 1x4, 2x6); Extras (b-4, lb-3, w-13) 20. Total (for three wkts. in 20 overs): 188.
Fall of wickets: 1-59, 2-78, 3-152.
Kolkata Knight Riders bowling: Dinda 4-0-29-1, Anureet 1-0-12-0, Agarkar 4-0-45-0, Kartik 3-0-27-0, Hodge 2-0-12-0, Mendis 4-0-38-0, Hussey 2-0-18-0.
Kolkata Knight Riders: B. McCullum b Jakati 81 (48b, 11x4, 3x6), S. Ganguly b Muralitharan 4 (14b), B. Hodge (not out) 71 (44b, 4x4, 4x6), D. Hussey run out 3 (2b), W. Saha (not out) 25 (13b, 2x4, 1x6), Extras (lb-4, nb-1): 5; Total (for three wickets in 20 overs): 189.
Fall of wickets: 1-34, 2-124, 3-133.
Chennai Super Kings bowling: Morkel 3-0-39-0, Tyagi 3-0-29-0, Muralitharan 4-0-16-1, Jakati 4-0-36-1, Raina 3-0-25-0, Balaji 3-0-40-0.