IPL 2023: Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) emerged victorious against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in match number 61 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Sunday. Nitish Rana and Rinku Singh played outstanding innings to secure a six-wicket win for KKR and keep their playoffs hopes alive.
CSK’s Opening Duo Gives a Solid Start
Electing to bat first, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Devon Conway looked at ease in driving, cutting, and flicking off fast bowlers Vaibhav Arora and Harshit Rana to pick three fours in the first three overs.
After Gaikwad swept Chakaravarthy for four, the leg-spinner bounced back when he found a turn on leg-break which the right-handed batter tried to slog and top-edge flew to short third man. Chakravarthy broke through the important partnership for KKR, getting Ruturaj Gaikwad (17, 13 balls, 2×4) to edge one to Arora in the fourth over as CSK raced away to 31 in the fourth over.
Conway-Rahane Struggles to Score Runs
After Conway brought out a cover drive off Chakaravarthy for four, Ajinkya Rahane used Rana’s pace to late-dab past the third man for four and followed it up with an effortless loft over mid-on for six as Chennai signed off from Power-play with 52/1.
Conway got to change an lbw decision off Chakaravarthy when on 25 in the eighth over as replays showed the ball bouncing above stumps, but Rahane fell trying to force the pace, unable to clear the boundary off Chakravarthy.
Chennai plunged into trouble when Conway got a top edge on the pull off Shardul Thakur and was caught by deep square-leg in the tenth over. In the next over, an off-break from Sunil Narine went past Ambati Rayudu’s sweep and crashed into the stumps, The West Indian spinner then castled a struggling Moeen (1) to reduce CSK to 72 for 5 in the 11th over.
Dube ended a 41-ball no-boundary spree by launching an overpitched delivery from Suyash Sharma over extra cover for six. But Narine, Suyash and Chakaravarthy controlled the run flow.Dube began to attack by pulling Thakur for four, before he and Ravindra Jadeja smashed a six each over the leg-side on short balls from Suyash on either side of a no-ball, to amass 16 runs from the 17th over.
The duo shared 68-run stand for the sixth wicket to take CSK close to the 150-run mark, which at one point of time looked out of reach on a sluggish pitch. Spin duo of Narine (2/15) and Chakravarthy (2/36) were the pick of the bowlers for KKR and they were ably supported by Shardul Thakur (3-0-15-1) did and Vaibhav Arora (1/30). CSK were 99 for five after 16 overs as KKR bowlers, especially the spinners, kept things tight and struck at regular intervals.
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Dube then took on Chakaravarthy by smoking a six over mid-wicket, before taking a brace twice. But Thakur pulled things back admirably by conceding only five runs, including a wide, in the 19th over.After Jadeja ramped a bouncer straight to short third man off Arora in the final over, Kolkata conceded only four runs on the last two balls, including a wide and no-ball, as Chennai picked only 14 runs off the last two overs.
Deepak Chahar’a Amazing Brought Early Breakthrough
CSK struck an early blow when Chahar got Rahmanullah Gurbaz (1) as he failed to keep his square-drive down and was well caught by Tushar Deshpande close to the boundary. After six overs, KKR were 46 for three with Chahar having picked up all the three wickets to fall — Gurbaz, Jason Roy (12) and Venkatesh Iyer (9). But CSK spinners — Ravindra Jadeja, Maheesh Theekshana and Moeen — could not do any damage after Deepak Chahar had provided the initial breakthroughs.
Rana-Rinku’s Partnership Costs CSK’s Victory
The pair of Nitish Rana and Rinku Singh stuck around to swat the spinner around the park with some typical cricketing shots. Rinku reached his fifty in just 39 balls as Nitish also got to his half-century in 38 balls. Rana remained unbeaten on 57 off 44 balls while Rinku made 54 off 43 deliveries. KKR finished at 147 for four in 18.3 overs with Rana leading from the front after making the most of a dropped chance.
Rana and Rinku, both left-handers, showed necessary skills and patience on a tacky pitch to negate the impact of CSK spinners after the home team had posted a moderate 144 for six in 20 overs. The match-winning partnership between Rana and Rinku ended when the latter was run out by a direct hit from Moeen Ali.
Rana got a life on 18 when Matheesha Pathirana dropped a catch running in from the boundary off Moeen. In the 13th over bowled by Moeen, Rana played two superb shots on the off-side to pick up boundaries and followed it up with a few more cracking strikes in the 15th over by Maheesh Theekshana. The defeat also puts on hold CSK’s chances of sealing a play-off berth as the home side is in second spot with 15 points. KKR, on the other hand, moved to 12 points with a match to play but their hopes rest on other results.
KKR’s victory against CSK has kept their playoffs hopes alive in the IPL 2023. Nitish Rana and Rinku Singh played crucial innings to guide KKR to a comfortable win. CSK’s spinners struggled to make an impact, and their chances of reaching the playoffs are now on hold. KKR’s next match will be crucial for their playoffs aspirations as they will rely on other results to determine their fate in the tournament.