Kolkata Knight Riders 159 for 7 (Russell 58, Ten Doeschate 51*, Nehra 4-21) beat Chennai Super Kings 157 for 4 (Dhoni 35*, Chawla 2-26) by three wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
High drama, it seems, can never be too far from a Kolkata Knight Riders batting effort.
Ten overs into the 158-run chase against Chennai Super Kings, it seemed as if the Knight Riders of the infamous batting meltdowns had shown up to play. The absence of Robin Uthappa and Jacques Kallis left plenty of volatility to go around. Within a period of 16 balls between the third and the fifth overs, Knight Riders lurched haplessly from 9 for 0 to 9 for 2 and then 21 for 4. Ashish Nehra took three of those wickets, including two off two in the third over. Soon, Suryakumar Yadav was gone and Knight Riders were 51 for 5.
The scorecard will show the pair added 80 runs in 45 balls but the numbers fall short of describing the brutality with which ten Doeschate and Russell accumulated the runs. Russell, in particular, has played a few innings like this for Jamaica Tallawahs in the Caribbean Premier League and it was his charge in the 11th over from Ravindra Jadeja that signalled the change in the game. Russell smacked two sixes and a four in a 17-run over to temper the required run-rate and give Knight Riders room to breathe.
Thereon, the pair did not allow the Super Kings bowlers to pile on the pressure. Dwayne Bravo bowled a couple of quiet overs but the batsmen controlled the run-rate well, taking 18 off the 16th over to drag the equation down to a winnable 32 off 24. The game was decidedly in Knight Riders' hands and although they lost two wickets towards the end, there was little Super Kings could do to wrest the advantage back.
Where Russell's fifty was all power - he finished with a strike rate of 232 - ten Doeschate was calmer, turning the strike repeatedly but finding the boundary at the right moment in an over. He continued in the same vein after Russell fell, and brought up his fifty with a six in the final over of the match.
Earlier, the experience of MS Dhoni and Bravo lifted Super Kings to 157 after the side had threatened to fall into a rut against Knight Riders' spin attack. The pair changed gears effortlessly to rack up 70 in the last seven overs, after the spin trio of Piyush Chawla, Sunil Narine and Yusuf Pathan had nullified a brisk start from Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum. A couple of close calls also went Knight Riders' way, specially the dismissals of McCullum, Suresh Raina and Faf du Plessis. McCullum was given out lbw to Pathan although a replay showed that the ball had missed his pad and hit his hand. Raina was given out lbw to Narine even as replays were uncertain over whether it was a no-ball. Du Plessis was given out stumped off Chawla as replays showed that his foot was marginally in the air when Manvinder Bisla whipped the bails off.
Rachna Shetty is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo