Rinku, Rana keep KKR in playoffs race

Indian Premier League 2023

86

Kolkata Knight Riders bagged two important points as they bounced back from the defeat against Rajasthan Royals to beat Chennai Super Kings in Match 61 of TATA IPL 2023 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

A skillful and disciplined bowling performance from the KKR bowlers, led by Sunil Narine (2/15), saw the away team restrict CSK to 144/6. Captain Nitish Rana (57* off 44) and the in-form Rinku Singh (54 off 43) then stabilised a stuttering chase with composed knocks and mixed caution with aggression to take KKR past the finish line with some impressive and sensible batting.

Chasing 145, KKR got off to a stuttering start as they lost Rahmanullah Gurbaz in the first over was a sliced one wide of third man where Tushar Deshpande pouched a very good balancing catch.

Impact Player Venkatesh Iyer then tried to provide some impetus with two fours off Chahar. But the CSK pacer bounced back to have Iyer caught at slip in the same over. Nitish Rana opened his boundary account with a six over long leg off Chahar but Chahar hit back again in the same over as he had Jason Roy caught at slip off a knuckle ball. Captain Nitish Rana looked in good touch as he lofted another six over long off, off Deshpande to take KKR to 46/3 at the end of the Powerplay.

CSK bowled with discipline and gave away just 21 off the next four overs as the away team reached 67/3 at the halfway mark but run rate was the least of concerns for KKR. They required stability and rebuilding and Rana and Rinku were doing a really good job of it. CSK came close to picking a wicket as Rana top edged his sweep to deep square leg where Pathirana couldn’t hold on to a tough chance. Rana and Rinku kept chipping away without taking many risks and then brought up the 50-run stand in the 12th over. The duo then upped the ante as Rana hit back to back fours off Moeen Ali. Rinku Singh then smacked a six off Jadeja before Rana took on Theekshana for a couple of fours to bring the required run rate below six with 28 needed off 30. Rinku Singh then brought up his fifty off 39 balls with a four off Pathirana as KKR took 9 runs from the over.

Rana brought up his 50 off 38 balls as the duo took six singles off Theekshana in the 17th over. The 99-run stand was finally broken via a brilliant direct hit run out from Moeen Ali to send back Rinku Singh (54 off 43). Rana (57* off 44) and Russell made sure there were no more stutters as they finished off the chase with nine balls to spare.

Earlier, Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat. They named an unchanged XI. Matheesha Pathirana, Nishant Sindhu, Subhranshu Senapati, Shaik Rasheed and Akash Singh made it to the home team’s substitutes list.

Kolkata Knight Riders made two changes to the starting eleven as Vaibhav Arora and Suyash Sharma replaced Venkatesh Iyer and Anukul Roy. They named N Jagadeesan, Umesh Yadav, Venkatesh Iyer, Lockie Ferguson and Anukul Roy as their substitutes.

CSK got off to a brisk start but lost Ruturaj Gaikwad in the Powerplay. Ruturaj Gaikwad and Devon Conway hit one four in each of the first three overs. Gaikwad then swept one off Varun Chakaravarthy for another four but the wily spinner bounced back to have Gaikwad (17 off 13) caught at short third man. Rahane then released some pressure with a classy four and a six to take 11 from the Harshit Rana over. Vaibhav Arora finished the Powerplay well, giving away just four as CSK reached 52/1.

KKR kept things tight and that built the pressure which brought about the dismissal of Rahane (16 off 11) who mistimed his loft to long off and had to walk back to the pavilion. Devon Conway (30 off 28) followed soon as he top edged his pull to deep square leg off Shardul Thakur as CSK hobbled to 68/3 at the halfway stage.

The wickets kept falling as Sunil Narine cleaned up Ambati Rayudu (4 off 7) and Moeen Ali (1 off 2) in the 11th over to jolt CSK.

Ravindra Jadeja and Shivam Dube then got together to rebuild the innings. They mixed caution with aggression as the pair brought up 50-run stand in the 18th over. The duo smashed three sixes combined in the 17-18 over period to accumulate 31 off 2 overs. KKR though finished well with some good slog overs bowling as Shardul gave away just five in the penultimate over while Vaibhav Arora dismissed Jadeja (20 off 24) and gave away nine runs as CSK posted 144/6 from 20 overs.

CSK introduced Matheesha Pathirana as their Impact Player, replacing Ambati Rayudu, at the start of their bowling innings