Chennai Super Kings marched on to another victory in the Indian Premier League 2021 on Sunday.
Thanks to Ravindra Jadeja’s all-round performance, CSK beat Kolkata Knight Riders by two wickets at Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium.
Chasing 172 on a tricky track, Chennai had a topsy-turvy ride till the end.
The game went down to the wire with Jadeja making the chase a piece of cake for CSK.
Gaikwad, du Plessis continue dream run
The mixture of youth and experience in Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis has been phenomenal for Chennai.
After a shaky start to this campaign, Gaikwad has got into the groove finally.
The right-hander notched 40 off 28, while the former South African skipper scored 43 off 30 to give Chennai a great start.
They utilized the powerplay extremely well, worked their way around the KKR pace cartel, and kept scoring at the asking run rate to make the run chase easy for other batsmen to follow.
Time for Dhoni, Rayudu to up the ante
To everyone’s surprise, CSK veterans collapsed in a jiffy when the team needed their contribution the most.
Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu and Mahendra Singh Dhoni followed each other to the dressing room.
Dhoni, in particular, has been out of touch for a long while now.
Jadeja, Sam Curran and Moeen Ali have been scoring consistently, but the team needs Dhoni and Rayudu to step their game up as well.
Wins often conceal loose ends of a team, and that has been the case for CSK.
The experienced trio will need to put in more work in the next stage of the tournament to become a formidable unit.
Depending too much on their openers and a couple of batters in the lower-order is a gamble that Dhoni wouldn’t want to play.
In the post-game interview, the CSK skipper acknowledged his failure without mincing words. “It’s a nice victory to have. At times you play good cricket and you lose. It is enjoyable when you don’t do so well and still win,” Dhoni remarked.
“The way we started, KKR deserve some applause for making a game out of it,” he continued.
“We were also worried about how the wicket will be. When you keep playing on a wicket, groundsmen sometimes water it more and leave some more grass.
Jadeja hammers KKR
Ravi Jadeja delivered a masterclass performance with the bat and ball.
After registering impressive figures of 1/21 in his quota of four overs, the left-hander smacked two sixes and two fours to bring CSK near to the target.
His flurry of boundaries in the 19th over against Prasidh Krishna meant that the 172 runs were within grab.
“I was just backing my strength,” Jadeja explained how he countered the KKR pacer.
“He was bowling with fine leg and square leg up. I thought he would bowl full outside off, and slow short ball. I thought he would give one ball up, and luckily I connected well.”
Despite being dismissed shortly after, he had made an impact.
His 22 off 8 balls showed that Jadeja is a dependable No. 6 batter who makes it all seem so easy at the peak of his career.
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.