Chennai Super Kings haven’t lost in nine consecutive games at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, but that proud record is in danger after a limp batting display against Kolkata Knight Riders resulted in a total of 134 for 6 on Tuesday evening. Put in to bat on a two-paced surface, Chennai Super Kings slipped remarkably from another rousing start in the face of some crafty changes of pace from Piyush Chawla and Brad Hogg and aggressive bowling from Andre Russell, with no batsman touching 30.
Amazingly, after Raina’s dismissal midway through the tenth over, there were only four fours hit in the rest of the innings – two of which came in the 20th.
Chennai Super Kings’ fruitful opening pair gave the team another good start, this one worth 42 in 4.4 overs until Brendon McCullum (19) was adjudged lbw to Chawla. At that stage the run rate was over nine-and-a-half, but with the introduction of the 44-year-old Hogg it dipped alarmingly.
Hogg made a superb start, conceding just two singles while bowling four dot balls to Suresh Raina in his first over, but it was during his second over that CSK were hurt. An edge off Raina squirted toward short third man, from where Yusuf Pathan swooped in and nailed the stumps to run out Smith for 25. Raina’s awkwardness against Hogg’s assortment of tricks had forced the urgent attempt to get off strike, and in doing so CSK lost their in-form opener after he’d shown further glimpses of his touch.
The momentum shifted further KKR’s way when Raina, on 17, tried to steer Russell’s third delivery past third man but succeeded in edging to Robin Uthappa. His sluggish innings consumed 21 balls. Russell’s short-ball approach consumed MS Dhoni not long after, the CSK captain gloving down the leg side to Uthappa, at which stage the home team had slumped to 81 for 4. That became 88 for 5 when Dwayne Bravo lofted Chawla to long-off, the second half-hearted shot of a shaky batting performance.
The CSK middle order had not been exposed like this in the tournament and the pressure of being five down in 13 overs told. Faf du Plessis, normally a free-stroking batsman, was allowed only 29 from 29 deliveries while Ravindra Jadeja’s average season with the bat continued. Neither batsman was able to find the boundary with ease, with Jadeja in particular reduced to heaving and slicing hard-handed shots into the ground or too fielders. Pat Cummins didn’t pick up a wicket but delivered an amazing 13 dot balls, while Hogg bowled Jadeja for 15 from 20 balls with his penultimate delivery, ending with an excellent 1 for 18 from four overs.
The duality of the pitch was summed up again in the 20th over, which began with an Umesh Yadav short ball thudding into du Plessis’ ribs – not extra pace but rather a lack of it off the surface. CSK are in possession of some good bowlers, and it’s now over to them – in particular the tireless Ashish Nehra – to outdo KKR’s excellence with the ball.
cerdit : cricbuzz