By BV Swagath
Hosts Chennai Super Kings held their nerve to win a closely fought contest against defending Champs Kolkata Knight Riders this evening at Chepauk. It was high-scoring affair on a perfect batting strip as CSK scored 200 and KKR ending up second with 186. KKR now have just the three wins in 9 matches and are on the brink of losing a spot in the play offs. CSK on the other hand have topped the table with 7 wins from 9 games.
Riding on Michael Hussey’s excellent form, CSK was off to another good start in the first half of their innings. This time Hussey got able support from Wridhimann Saha who scored an attacking 39 from 23 balls (with 4 fours and 2 sixes) to justify his selection in the place of Murali Vijay. Saha with Hussey provided the perfect start of 103 for 1 in 10.1 overs for the hosts.
Michael Hussey missed out narrowly on a century by five runs when he got out in the 16th over to Sunil Narine. Hussey got his 95 runs in 59 balls with 11 fours and 2 sixes. Suresh Raina provided the finishing touches with 44 from 25 balls while Dhoni chipped in with 18* from 12 balls as CSK piled up 200 for 3.
KKR got off to a flier as Dirk Nannes bowled an extremely poor first over that went for 18 runs. Nannes bowled a total of 9 balls to finish what was a forgettable over of his career. Skipper Gambhir fell early in the 3rd over and Brendon McCullum departed cheaply to leave KKR at 63 for 2 in 6 overs. Despite that opener Manvinder Bisla kept his cool and went about his job smoothly. With terrific support from Eoin Morgan, Bisla challenged the CSK bowling in getting his team closer to 201.
It was in the 19th over that CSK could breathe easy as Bisla got run out by a direct throw from Hussey. Bisla ended up with 92 from 61 balls with 14 fours and 2 sixes leaving KKR at 178 for 4. KKR needed as many as 19 runs from the final over with Morgan and Yusuf Pathan at the crease. Though the duo had the potential to get those runs, the bowler was Chris Morris who bowled right up in the blockhole to give away only four runs! Morgan remained helpless on 32* from 22 balls (with 2 fours and 2 sixes) as KKR crashed to their sixth defeat. As expected, it was Michael Hussey getting yet another Man of the Match award.
Toss and Teams: Kolkata Knight Riders have won the toss and asked Chennai Super Kings to bat first at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. Brendon McCullum finally gets to play his first game of IPL 6 replacing Senanayake as no Sri Lankan players are allowed to play in Chennai.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Brendon McCullum, Gautam Gambhir (C), Manvinder Bisla (WK), Jacques Kallis, Yusuf Pathan, Eoin Morgan, Debabrata Das, Rajat Bhatia, Sunil Narine, Shami Ahmed, Lakshmipathy Balaji
Chennai Super Kings: Michael Hussey, Wriddhiman Saha, Suresh Raina, S Badrinath, MS Dhoni (C&WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Chris Morris, Ravichandran Ashwin, Dirk Nannes, Mohit Mahipal Sharma