Chennai Super Kings all but guaranteed a top four finish in IPL 2021 by defeating Kolkata Knight Riders off the last ball of the match at the Zayed Cricket stadium on Sunday.
Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis set the platform with a splendid opening wicket stand of 74 from 50 balls but it was Ravindra Jadeja’s cameo of 22 off eight balls that took Chennai to their third win in the UAE edition.
The India all-rounder smashed two sixes and two fours but was out when he was trapped in front by Sunil Narine when his team required one to win from the last ball.
Deepak Chahar then went down on one knee to slap the ball to the on side for a two-wicket win for Chennai, who joined Delhi Capitals on 16 points but are placed above them on a better run-rate.
“The opening stand is always crucial and we managed to do it today,” Gaikwad said.
“If one of us had stayed until 12th or 13th over, it would have prevented this game from coming closer.
“The senior players are used to these conditions and situations. If this had been a Super Over, I might have needed to bat, so I was really nervous around the last ball.”
Gaikwad was first to fall after a 28-ball 40. He lofted Andre Russell’s first deliver straight over the bowler for six but was out in the next ball as a leading popped up towards Eoin Morgan at covers.
That brought Moeen Ali to the crease and he sprang into action straightaway. He drove Lockie Ferguson to the mid-wicket fence and sent the next over deep square leg for maximum. With Du Plessis with him, Chennai appeared to be cruising.
Ferguson took a blinder at covers to send back Du Plessis off Prasidh Krishna for a 30-ball 43 before a flurry of wickets, including Moeen (32) had Chennai in a spot of bother.
That was when Jadeja walked to the crease. He couldn’t finish the game off but did enough for his team to complete the win.
Earlier, Kolkata put up 171-6 on the board with Rahul Tripathi making 45 off 33 deliveries.
Nitish Rana, with a 27-ball knock 37 not out, along with Andre Russell (20) and Dinesh Karthik (26) chipped in with useful contributions.
“Both sides batted well and both bowled really well,” Kolkata captain Morgan said after the match. “Can't fault anything from our side. The second half of the tournament has been a lot of positives for our side.
“We just have to give ourselves the best chance. The whole tournament has an abundance of top-class international cricketers. Some of the local Indian guys haven't even been capped yet.
“When Jadeja plays like that, similar to Sam Curran for England, I don't think there's a lot to do. It’s all about matchups. Your bowlers need to bowl well enough to do that.”