Thursday, July 25, 2024

CSK beat KKR in thrilling opener


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Chennai: Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s inspired captaincy again played a key role as champions Chennai Super Kings snatched a dramatic two-run victory against Kolkata Knight Riders to open their campaign in the 2011 Indian Premier League on a strong note here on Friday.

Three stumpings, a run out and shrewd bowling changes at the death underlined Dhoni’s Midas Touch as the Knight Riders, chasing Super Kings’ total of 153 for four, collapsed to 151 for seven despite a classy knock by Jacques Kallis (54) and some late blitz by Manoj Tiwary.

A chancy but valuable knock of 64 by opener Anirudha Srikkanth, who was dropped twice, held the Super Kings innings together after Dhoni won the toss and opted to bat against a severely depleted Knight Riders, who had just two foreign players in their playing eleven.

At one stage, with Kallis going great guns, the Knight Riders looked certain to cruise to victory, but a dramatic collapse even as Dhoni wrung in quick bowling changes, dashed the visitors’ hopes.

Kallis’ dismissal, caught at fine-leg off Ravichandran Ashwin was the key moment as a couple of more dismissals, including that of skipper Gautam Gambhir, batting at No.6, run out attempting a second run, put the hosts on top.

Yet, Tiwary and Laxmi Ratan Shulka took 17 off Suraj Randiv in the 19th over, but the former fell in the same over, leaving Knight Riders to get nine off the 20th bowled by Kiwi seamer Tim Southee, who emerged the hero conceding only six, besides dismissing Shukla to leave Super Kings winners by two runs.

Earlier, three dropped catches and three big overs took the Super Kings past the 150-mark after the Knight Riders bowlers had done well to keep the rival batsmen in check in the second part of the innings.

Veteran Kallis proved to be the most expensive and also the most successful bowler for the Knight Riders, taking two wickets in his final two overs, but conceding 34 in his three, 13 of them in his first.

The early loss of opener Murali Vijay did little to check the Super Kings as Raina and Anirudha batted quite freely for a 75-run partnership for the second wicket.

Both batsmen profited from dropped catches. Anirudha was let off when on 11 and 39, and Raina on 13. Yusuf Pathan floored two of these while Eoin Morgan grassed the other.

At the halfway mark, Chennai Super Kings were 78 for one, but thereafter, Kolkata Knight Riders came into their own, especially left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdulla who opened the bowling and seamer Lakshmipathy Balaji.

Raina eventually perished and skipper Dhoni threatened to cut loose but top-edged a hook off Kallis, surprised by the bounce and then Anirudha departed, bowled by the South African seamer.

It was another South African, Albie Morkel, who slammed a six and a four to carry Super Kings to a challenging total. (IANS)


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