Abu Dhabi, Sep 26 : Ravindra Jadeja blasted 22 runs off eight deliveries as Chennai Super Kings survived some nervous moments in the final over to crawl over the line for a dramatic two-wicket win against Kolkata Knight Riders in a nail-biting IPL 2021 encounter at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium here on Sunday.
It was the second of the weekend's afternoon matches in the UAE leg but instead of a Twenty20 game, it turned out to a Three3 contest as all the drama happened in the final three overs of both the innings. In the end, CSK survived twists and turns and some heart-stopping moments to emerge victories on the match, reaching 172/8 in response to KKR's 171/6.
KKR won the toss and elected to bat and crossed 170 in their 20 overs, propped up by some lusty late-order hitting by Nitish Rana (37 not out) and Dinesh Karthik (26 runs off 11 balls) who blasted 44 runs off the last three overs as Kolkata recovered from 127/5 to reach what looked like a defendable total.
It looked like KKR skipper Eoin Morgan's assessment that the pitch would play slower and make batting more difficult in the evening was way off the mark as CSK were cruising towards victory at 132/3 at the end of 16th over after openers Ruturaj Gaikwad (40) and Faf du Plessis (43) had raised 74 for the first wicket partnership.
KKR recovered from the early onslaught by Chennai batsmen to send back Moeen Ali (32), Suresh Raina (11) and MS Dhoni (1) in quick succession and dragged the match to 26 needed from the last 12 balls.
With Andre Russell in the dugout with an injury, Morgan chose Prasidh Krishna to bowl the 19th over and Jadeja waded into the medium pacer, carting 22 of six deliveries. After he and Sam Curran took a single apiece of the first two balls of the over, Jadeja swung a short one from Krishna over the long-leg fence for a big six. The left-hander lofted the the next delivery over long-on and struck two superb boundaries in the last two balls of the over to make it four needed of the final over.
But Curran (4) was out of the first ball of the final over bowled by Sunil Narine, caught at long-off as he tried to finish the game. Shardul Thakur trickled the third ball behind the keeper to collect three runs and levelled the scores. But there was more drama in store as Jadeja got out lbw off the fifth delivery to leave the match tantalisingly poised on the verge of a super over -- one run requited off the last ball. Deepak Chahar scored the required run, hitting over the crowded in-field to seal the two-wicket victory for Chennai Super Kings and took them to the top of the table again.
Earlier, KKR got off to a bad start, consolidated their inning in the first 10 overs, lost some momentum between overs 14-16, and then finished with a flourish as they kept alive their hopes of using the slow track to their benefit.
Electing to bat, KKR lost opener Shubman Gill with only 10 runs on the board. The former under-19 star went for a non-existent single and was caught short by a direct throw from Ambati Rayudu.
Though KKR recovered from that blow and kept a good run rate as they reached 50 in five overs, they lost a few wickets at inopportune moments after that and landed in a situation where it looked that they may not be able to cross the 150-mark.
Iyer, who was going nicely on the slow wicket, scoring through smart jabs and prods and scoops behind, had a rush of blood and slashed at a wide one from Shardul Thakur, the faint edge pouched smartly by Dhoni.
Faf du Plessis pulled off a brilliant catch at the boundary rope to end Morgan's brief stay at the crease and when Rahul Tripathi, who held one end up and also kept the scoring rate going by hitting four boundaries and one six, was bowled three short of his half-century attempting to reverse sweep Jadeja, KKR were down to 89/4 in the 13th over.
Rana took charge after that and found a good partner in Karthik, both hitting some lusty blows as KKR managed to reach what looked like a defendable total. But in the end Jadeja proved that it is not over till it is over.
Brief scores: Kolkata Knight Riders 171/6 in 20 overs (Rahul Tripathi 45, Nitish Rana 37 not out, Dinesh Karthik 26; Shardul Thakur 2/20, Josh Hazlewood 2/20) lost to Chennai Super Kings 172/8 in 20 overs (Ruturaj Gaikwad 40, Faf du Plessis 43, Moeen Ali 32, Ravindra Jadeja 22; Sunil Narine 3/41).
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