Super Kings squeak home in thriller

Bravo and spinners excel; Knight Riders done in by disciplined bowling and fielding.

April 29, 2015 01:44 am | Updated April 02, 2016 07:20 pm IST - CHENNAI:

Dwayne Bravo celebrates after taking the wicket of Yusuf Pathan. Photo: R. Ragu

Dwayne Bravo celebrates after taking the wicket of Yusuf Pathan. Photo: R. Ragu

A six was required off the final ball to tie this engrossing game of fortune swings. The battling Ryan ten Doeschate only managed a powerfully-driven boundary.

Amidst shouts of delight and relief from the home fans, Chennai Super Kings clinched a humdinger by two runs, overcoming holder Kolkata Knight Riders in an Indian Premier League duel at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Tuesday. Chepauk continues to be a fortress for Super Kings.

The Kolkata side required 17 runs off the final over sent by the canny Dwayne Bravo. ten Doeschate (38 not out) missed scoring off the first three balls and then exploded with a six and a boundary. He could not, however, deliver the final punch.   

It was a night when M.S. Dhoni’s captaincy was spot on. His team defending just 134, the CSK skipper shuffled his bowlers and never lost that instinct to attack. The bowling had control, and fielding the intensity.

It was a testing surface for the batsmen. There was turn for the spinners, and some movement off the seam and bounce for the pacemen.

KKR lost skipper Gambhir early; the southpaw played away from the body to nick seamer Ishwar Pandey.

Robin Uthappa (39 off 17 deliveries) pulled and clipped tellingly, but slog-swept into the trap R. Ashwin set for him. The off-spinner was brought on in the sixth over, when the PowerPlay was still on. Ashwin bowled well, mixing his length and turning his off-spinners.

Ashwin injured

However, the wily off-spinner, who split his finger while fielding, will miss the next two matches.

CSK found wickets at regular intervals. Mohit Sharma has a deceptively sharp bouncer and Suryakumar Yadav’s top-edged pull was spectacularly taken by Bravo, running in from long-on. Yusuf Pathan was done in by Bravo’s clever change of pace. And Andre Russell was unable to beat Ravindra Jadeja’s throw from deep square-leg to ’keeper Dhoni.

Ashish Nehra and man-of-the-match Bravo made things hard for KKR in the final phase, striking telling blows.

Earlier, Faf du Plessis’s hard-earned unbeaten 29 was the highest score in a total of 134 for six, reflecting the CSK batsmen’s struggle.  

‘Hogg’ing the limelight

Age is just a number as Hogg showed in a young man’s format. The 44-year-old left-arm Chinaman bowler, still zestful and fit, delighted. The wily Australian varied his length, bowled above the eye-level one moment and employed the quicker one the next, used the crease and found two-way turn.

While his Chinaman deliveries — spinning into the right-hander — were enhanced by bounce, the wristy Hogg also used the wrong ’un — turning away from the right-hander — as a variation.

He tempted Smith to strike his stock ball by keeping empty spaces on the leg-side — a point, a cover, a sweeper-cover and a long-off guarded the off-side — and did defeat the batsman more than once with the ’wrong-un that caught the outside of the bat.

Smith survived, but succumbed to a Yusuf Pathan throw from third man.

Hogg’s first two overs, which went for just six, were crucial since the spell halted CSK’s momentum — the side was roaring along at 53 for one — after six overs.

The left-handed Suresh Raina was harried by Hogg’s deliveries spinning away before the lively and rhythmic Russell angled one across to find the edge. Before long, Dhoni was prised out by a Russell short-pitched ball.

Hogg returned to bowl magnificently in the 17th and 19th overs, using the wrong ’un to embarrass du Plessis and castling Jadeja with a delivery spinning into the left-hander.

His action under the scanner, Sunil Narine was not risked by the visitor.

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