Jadeja takes four wickets as Chennai prove too good for Kolkata
CHENNAI 148-3 (17ov)
KOLKATA 114-9 (17ov)
Toss - Chennai, chose to bat
Chennai - McCullum 56, Raina 31, Dhoni 22 not out; Shakib 2-25
Kolkata - Uthappa 47, Yusuf 41; Jadeja 4-12, Mohit 3-22
Man of the match - Ravindra Jadeja (Chennai)
RANCHI, India // For an hour and 40 minutes, the cricket loving public of Ranchi were on tenterhooks. Unseasonal rain cast a shadow over the possibility of even a truncated shootout.
Ranchi was a giant party waiting to take off and when the players walked on to the park for a 17-overs-a-side contest the noise was unbelievable.
Rain had played spoilsport when cricket came to this bustling town last October, but the match did not escape them this time as a sea of Chennai yellow took over the JSCA International Stadium.
Chennai, who posted a competitive 148 for three, continued their bull-run by restricting Kolkata Knight Riders to 114 for nine to score a 34-run win.
It took Chennai to the top of the IPL 2014 standings, while Kolkata, who have just two wins in six matches, have a mountain to climb to get into the play-offs.
Gautam Gambhir, the Kolkata captain, punted on using his spinners at the start but it mattered little to Dwayne Smith, who opened the scoring with a fierce sweep for four off Shakib Al Hasan, and then reverse-swept his West Indies teammate Sunil Narine for a boundary soon after.
Smith had a stroke of luck when he was stumped off Shakib on a ball umpire Nigel Llong called dead after Shakib had dropped a towel in his run up, which could have put the batsman off, before the ball was delivered. But Kolkata soon had their man when Smith was out lbw for 16 in the third.
While Kolkata had a measure of proceedings till the end of the sixth over, Suresh Raina and Brendon McCullum cut loose soon after. The odd ball gripped on the surface, but most of them skidded through, and with McCullum very quick to pick the length, the margin for error was minimal.
Chennai kept chugging along comfortably, without being threatened. Their 59 for one in eight overs suddenly skyrocketed to 85 for one off 10 overs, and Chennai firmly had the momentum by their side.
McCullum brought up his fifty off just 32 balls, before falling for 56 and Dhoni, who replaced Raina, added 29 off 15 to finish the innings on a high.
Despite losing Gambhir, who was run-out at the bowlers end for six while trying to steal a non-existent single, Kolkata’s chase looked on course as Robin Uthappa set the tempo early on, combining timing and brute force to blast 35 off the first four overs. But losing the wickets of Jacques Kallis, Manish Pandey and Shakib in the space of five deliveries put paid to their hopes.
While Kolkata’s spinners had struggled, Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin thrived and extracted plenty of turn. Jadeja’s in-drifters were also turning and figures of four for 12 off his four overs did justice to his ability, that had come under question after a few lacklustre outings. Mohit Sharma too joined in, bringing his slower variations into play by finishing with three for 22.
Yusuf Pathan and Uthappa, who made a valiant 47 before gloving a reverse-sweep, kept Kolkata in with a slim chance of pulling off a surprise. Yusuf even smashed three sixes off the penultimate over, but ultimately the fans got what they wanted from Ranchi’s date with cricket
Shashank Kishore is a sub editor for Wisden India. Visit wisdenindia.com or follow them on Twitter @WisdenIndia.
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Published: May 3, 2014 04:00 AM