Jadeja steals another win for Chennai
Chennai Super Kings 124 for 6 (Hussey 40, Jadeja 36*) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 119 for 9 (Jadeja 3-20, Ashwin 2-21) by four wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Make them Sir jokes all you want, Ravindra Jadeja is arising again and again this Indian home season. After he took three wickets - mostly poor batting from Kolkata Knight Riders - to reduce the hosts to 119, he came out to see his team-mates had messed the paltry chase so much that they now needed 40 off 27. Just like that, he smoked sixes down the ground, fours through cover, and on a sluggish track where almost every batsman apart from Gautam Gambhir struggled, Jadeja took Super Kings home with an unbeaten 36 off 14. There were five balls still to go.
In his recent column, Gambhir spoke of how the turbulence inside resulting from how his side snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in their previous match was much stronger than the choppy flight he had. His team went on to prove him wrong, showing turbulence much greater than Gambhir can imagine, chaos much greater than the honking cars in Kolkata can create. Kolkata Knight Riders were going swimmingly at 46 for 0 when Gambhir fell, and they all managed enough panic over the next 10 overs to throw their wickets away to be reduced to 91 for 8. They fought hard from there, but it wasn't enough.
Super Kings will claim, and not without reason, that the panic was initiated by their superb fielding, but it wouldn't justify the ordinariness of Knight Riders' batting and the diabolicalness of their running. First the superb fielding, though.
In this clash of the last year's finalists, Knight Riders went without the man who won them that final, Manvinder Bisla. The struggling Yusuf Pathan opened in Bisla's absence, and on a slow and low pitch he could put behind the nightmares of the bouncers from Mohali. The two cut and pulled well, but when Gambhir didn't bother keeping the cut in the sixth over down, Michael Hussey dived to his left at square third man boundary to pull off a special catch.
Two balls later, S Badrinath matched Hussey's effort. Yusuf had hit to the right of Badrinath at point, and Jacques Kallis called him through for a single. Badrinath swooped on it, fielded it one-handed, and threw off-balance to knock the only stump visible to him. Kallis gone without facing a ball. He has never scored a diamond duck in international cricket. Soon Eoin Morgan failed to read a Dwayne Bravio slower ball, and holed out.
That brought together the two men that lost Knight Riders their previous match: Yusuf and Manoj Tiwary. The association lasted two balls as Tiwary ran Yusuf out. Bravo could claim about as much credit as Tiwary. He bowled, saw the ball pushed towards deep midwicket, and hared two-thirds of the way to the boundary, slid and fumbled. That fumble meant Tiwary finally went for the second after he had left Yusuf stranded mid-pitch. Bravo recovered, and even when on his knees he let rip a bullet throw to Dhoni. Knight Riders 55 for 4 after eight overs.
After that it seemed there would be a run-out every second ball, but what followed was poor shots and in no time four more were back. Sunil Narine slogged two sixes, and gave himself and Sachithra Senanayake something to bowl at. They were helped by the failed Super Kings experiment of opening with R Ashwin. The visitors then found themselves in a rut they couldn't get out of. The slow pitch made it difficult to build momentum. Then came Jadeja.
He danced down to L Balaji and lofted him straight into the sightscreen. Hussey, who fought hard for his 40 off 49, fell, leaving 31 to get off 19. Jadeja proceeded to pull Balaji over short fine leg for another four. Knight Riders had an ace up their sleeve with one over from Narine to go, but Jadeja took his revenge and slogged him over long-on for six the first time he faced him today. If this blow wasn't what did it, Yusuf dropped Jadeja at backward square leg to finally lose it for Knight Riders. Jadeja finished it off with another high six off the first ball of the last over.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo