Chennai Super Kings 172 for 8 (du Plessis 43, Gaikwad 40, Narine 3-41) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 171 for 6 (Tripathi 45, Rana 37, Thakur 2-20, Hazlewood 2-40) by two wickets
Needing 34 from 21 balls with seven wickets in hand, Chennai Super Kings looked like they may have thrown away a simple chase as Moeen Ali, Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni all fell within the space of six balls. But Super Kings still had one more ace up their sleeve in Ravindra Jadeja, who crushed Kolkata Knight Riders' victory hopes in the space of a devastating four-ball sequence in the 19th over as Super Kings eventually got over the line on the final ball in a dramatic two-wicket win on Sunday afternoon in Abu Dhabi.
With the equation down to 24 from ten balls, Jadeja left Prasidh Krishna shellshocked after clocking a pair of sixes over the leg side followed by two fours over point to swing the pendulum Super Kings' way. With four required from the final over, Sunil Narine stretched the match to the limit with a valiant effort, dismissing Sam Curran at the start of the over and Jadeja off the penultimate ball before Deepak Chahar ended the teasing thought of a Super Over with a single over midwicket to clinch victory and put Super Kings back on top of the IPL table with 16 points, ahead of Delhi Capitals on net run rate.
Thakur's sharp spell
Super Kings' bowling performance was topsy-turvy. Curran had a poor day coming into the XI as a replacement for the rested Dwayne Bravo, conceding 0 for 56 before his 4 off four balls late in the chase. But that was made a footnote in the end thanks to the efforts of Jadeja and Shardul Thakur. The latter took 2 for 20 off his four overs and began the day in style with a wicket-maiden after entering in the sixth over. Venkatesh Iyer was caught behind, but needlessly burnt a review on a straightforward decision in the process, to kick off Thakur's day.
Thakur continued to keep things tight heading into the death overs and struck an even bigger blow in the 17th. Andre Russell had just clattered Curran for a pair of fours and a six but Thakur managed to wrest back momentum by inducing a drag on to dismiss Russell for 20 off 15 balls, denying Knight Riders their best weapon for a late launch. Dinesh Karthik still managed a superb cameo with 26 off 11 balls before he fell in the final over to Josh Hazlewood, but much of the damage that could have been possible with Russell at the crease was mitigated by Thakur.
WATCH - Jadeja takes Krishna to the cleaners
Super Kings' forty duo
Chasing a target of 172 may have looked steep on the same pitch where Rajasthan Royals failed miserably in their reply to Delhi Capitals' 154 a day earlier. But Faf du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad got the Super Kings off to a phenomenal start with a 74-run opening partnership. du Plessis kept the scoreboard flowing early with a pair of boundaries off Varun Chakravarthy in the fourth over as Gaikwad took time to get his feet wet.
But Gaikwad took on Narine in the fifth over, using his feet expertly to loft a four and six straight down the ground. Two overs later, Gaikwad again cleared the rope against Narine with a pull before smashing Russell back over his head for a third six in the ninth over. Gaikwad's knock finally came to an end one ball later for 40, flicking a leading edge to cover, but he and du Plessis had laid a solid platform for the rest of the Super Kings batters to continue to seize upon.
A head-swivel, see-saw finish
To say there were more than a few momentum shifts in the final hour of play would be an understatement. Moeen came to the crease like a house on fire, bashing Lockie Ferguson for four and six over the leg side to end the tenth over before he and du Plessis rocked Russell for a boundary each in the 11th to leave 71 needed from the final 54 balls. But Prasidh induced a catch at deep cover to remove du Plessis for 43 before Narine came back to defeat Ambati Rayudu's slog in the 15th. Still, it should have been a canter with 40 needed off the final four overs for Super Kings but Eoin Morgan's captaincy made them sweat until the final ball.
With Russell off the field injured, Morgan got creative shuffling his remaining bowlers around and nearly rallied his team to an unlikely comeback in the field. Moeen holed out to long-on off Ferguson in the 17th for 32 before Raina was run out coming back for a non-existent second to start the 18th. Two balls later, Varun defeated MS Dhoni with a googly for 1 to cap a six-ball slide of three wickets for 4 runs, leaving the score at 142 for 6.
Prasidh was handed the ball for the 19th and conceded just singles off the first two balls. But with Jadeja back on strike, a slower ball landed horribly short on the legs and was punished over the square-leg rope. Overcorrecting on the next ball, he sent one too full, and Jadeja sent it over long-on for six more. Attempting wide yorkers off the last two balls of the over, neither one landed as Jadeja slapped a pair of full tosses over point to the rope.
With four from six needed, Narine did not give up. Curran charged and drove a catch to long-off and failed to cross Jadeja with the ball in the air. Thakur arrived on strike and after a dot, clipped a three through fine leg to level the scores. Jadeja then missed two hacks off his pads trying to end the match and paid the price on the second as Narine's lbw appeal was upheld on the field and on DRS too. But Chahar ensured Jadeja's efforts did not go to waste and capped Super Kings' day with a slog over the infield for the winning run.