By BV Swagath
Dwayne Bravo’s last ball six carried Chennai Super Kings to a nervous 5-wicket win over hosts Kolkata Knight Riders in Match 63 at the Eden Gardens. Chennai Super Kings almost lost the match with 5 runs to get from the final ball when the bowler Rajat Bhatia erred in length and came up with a high full toss which was swung over long on for a six by Bravo.
CSK have now moved up to the fourth position with 17 points following 8 wins in 15 games. KKR following this defeat have slipped to the third position below Mumbai Indians.
Asked to bat first after losing the toss, KKR got off to a splendid start from Brendon McCullum (37 from 29 balls with 4 fours and a six) and Skipper Gautam Gambhir (62 from 43 balls with 6 fours and 3 sixes). The first wicket pair put up 99 runs in 11.3 overs! However, KKR lost the plot in no time as it lost wickets midway.
A great fightback with the ball from CSK saw KKR slip to 127 for 4 in 17 overs. Eventually, the hosts could only put up 158 for 6 in the 20 overs despite a rollicking start. Shadab Jakati with 4-0-26-2 and R Ashwin with 4-0-26-1 made it tough for the KKR batsmen to sustain the momentum.
Chennai Super Kings got a perfect start with 97 put up by its openers in 10.2 overs. But just like KKR, CSK too lost its openers one after the other. Michael Hussey was the first to fall but not before a wonderful 56 from 39 balls with 4 fours and 4 sixes. His opening partner Murali Vijay looked good for his 36 from 25 balls (with 5 fours and a six) before his off stump got cleaned up by Sunil Narine.
The visitors lost their way in the middle overs as they slipped to 127 for 4 in 17.1 overs. Skipper MS Dhoni took care of the situation by smashing fast bowler Marchant de Lange for 18 runs in the penultimate over. That left CSK needing 9 runs to win from the final over.
Rajat Bhatia bowling the final over turned the match in KKR’s favour when he clean bowled MS Dhoni (28 from 21 balls with 3 fours and a six) in the second ball. Bhatia with his nagging slower ones got the better of Ravindra Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo to have KKR inching towards a victory with five runs to get from the final ball. Bhatia failed to hold his nerve and Darren Bravo (11* from 7 balls with a six) was good enough to take him for the last ball six. While Bhatia bowled well for his 2 for 33 in 4 overs, Sunil Narine was once again too difficult for the batsmen to handle as he went for just 14 runs in 4 overs besides taking two wickets.
Michael Hussey got the Man of the Match for his fluent knock of 56 which provided CSK with a sound platform to chase down the target of 159.