Chennai Super Kings 162 for 5 (Raina 58*, du Plessis 24, Narine 2-19) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 161 for 8 (Lynn 82, Tahir 4-27) by five wickets
Chennai Super Kings extended their winning streak to four matches and lengthened their lead at the top of the table in IPL 2019 with another clinical chase in a five-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders with two balls to spare. Knight Riders have now lost three straight matches after a hot start to the season.
Suresh Raina made the most significant contribution, scoring the 36th half-century in his IPL career after wisely using a review to overturn an lbw decision against him when on the second ball of his innings. The reprieve was the turning point in the chase as Raina flicked his very next ball through midwicket for a boundary, then cruised to 50 off 36 balls before ending unbeaten on 58 off 42.
The match was still very much up for grabs with 24 needed off two overs, but Ravindra Jadeja hit three consecutive boundaries off death-bowling specialist Harry Gurney to drag the equation to 11 off 8. Jadeja and Raina cantered across the line in the following over.
Knight Riders paid for a tame finish to their innings as Imran Tahir swung momentum towards the visitors in the field with a sensational four-for. Tahir was supported by a world-class clinic in catching as Faf du Plessis, Shardul Thakur and substitute Dhruv Shorey converted three difficult chances coming off the boundary to claim the key scalps of Robin Uthappa, Chris Lynn and Andre Russell to ensure that the Knight Riders set a below par total.
Shaking off the flu
Chris Lynn supplied the firepower for Knight Riders in his comeback to the lineup after sitting out the last match with a bug. After Joe Denly made a golden duck in the Australian's place last match, Lynn highlighted his value by top-scoring with 82 off 51 balls, including six sixes.
After four overs, Lynn had raced to 31 while his opening partner Sunil Narine was stuck on 1. He brought up his 50 off 36 balls in the ninth over before going after Jadeja's left-arm spin in the 14th. On the first ball of the over, he backed away to slap a drive over the extra cover rope. Staying in his crease for the next ball, he flicked a delivery pitching in the same location over midwicket for six before driving a third consecutive maximum over long-on. However, his fun came to an end in the following over as Tahir stamped his impact on the match.
Tahir is here
The South African legspinner had already begun causing problems after entering in the 11th when Nitish Rana drove a simple catch to du Plessis at long-on for the second wicket, then struck two balls later when Uthappa played an ill-advised slog that spun sharply to create a skied edge over mid-off. Du Plessis charged in 25 yards from the boundary to take a spectacular diving catch on the edge of the ring.
Two bigger blows came in the 15th in the form of Lynn and Russell. Lynn had just concluded his rampage against Jadeja in the previous over when he shuffled across Tahir's first ball in the over and slammed a flat pull to deep square leg, where Thakur pouched a sharp take coming at high speed. Russell arrived at the crease and began by biffing Tahir for a four and six over the leg side.
But trying to repeat a straight hit maximum from the previous ball, Russell rolled his wrists to produce a top-spinning chance rather than get the elevation for six. Sub fielder Shorey judged the opportunity to perfection charging in from long-on for a stunning grab diving forward. At 132 for 5, the Knight Riders monster mashers had been wiped out. They only added 29 runs off the last 31 balls as a result.
Raina's Purple Reign
Of Raina's 36 IPL half-centuries, eight of them have been scored against the Knight Riders. For a brief moment, it appeared that would not be the case when he was given out in the fourth over lbw to Gurney just a few balls after Watson had fallen in the same fashion.
Watson was talked out of using a review by du Plessis, which was vital as the Australian's decision turned up three red lights on replay and would have resulted in a lost review. Instead, Raina had it at his disposal and didn't hesitate to signal for it off what was shown to be a clear inside edge into the pads on replay.
Super Kings were fractionally behind the required rate needing 101 off 11 overs as Sunil Narine pinned back Raina's partners with an excellent spell of 2 for 19, beginning with a wicket-maiden to claim du Plessis swiping across the line and then later claiming a frustrated Ambati Rayudu picking out short extra cover in the 10th.
But MS Dhoni's charged six off Kuldeep Yadav in the 13th sparked similar aggression from Raina against Piyush Chawla in the following over. The required run-rate briefly climbed above 10 with four overs left but Jadeja's flurry of fours off Gurney in the penultimate over eased any nerves in the Super Kings camp and they have now won seven of eight.