With CSK already eliminated from the play-off race, today’s game against CSK was all about pride and giving the devoted fans something to cheer for in such a disappointing season for the Super Kings. It was also a valuable chance to have a look at the players who could potentially provide the core of a new CSK and who should be axed from the squad…
The typically sedate Shubman Gill played with brilliant intent and aggression in an attempt to provide a solid platform from which the bountiful of explosive KKR batsmen can gleefully exploit. Nitish Rana, on the other hand, was struggling to locate any form of timing in his strokes as he trudged along at a snail’s pace.
Much to the delight of the KKR camp, Rana rediscovered his mojo and was suddenly looking in impeccable form in tandem with the classy Gill.
As the pair of Gill and Rana marched onwards to an imposing 52/0 of 7 overs, CSK desperately needed something special to crack open a further burgeoning partnership…
Karn Sharma was the man to deliver for the Super Kings as hurried Gill with a slippery slider that toppled leg stump. He let out a deafening roar of passion and CSK were back in this game!
The Knight Riders dropped the highly combustible bomb of Sunil Narine at no.3 in the hope that he would blast the CSK bowling attack into smithereens. This was looking ever-likely when Narine tonked the hapless Sharma into the stands with his signature lofted drive.
However, the wily left arm spin Mitchell Santher was not to be fazed easily: he tempted the ravenous Narine with what appeared to be a floated lollypop of a delivery with “6” written all over it. Narine licked his lips and took the bait unaware that he holed out to the man stationed on the long boundary.
Brilliant bowling from Santner!
Debutant Rinku Singh came out at no.4, despite the existence of Eoin Morgan in the line up, and fell for an innocuous 11 of 11 balls. One has to wonder why the KKR management are refusing to utilise the full extent of Morgan’s undoubted ability.
Nitish Rana trudged to a sluggish 50 of 44 balls but he shrugged of his “sluggishness” when he unleashed a consecutive trio of spectacular 6’s of the unfortunate Karn Sharma. This aided his quest to resurrect an innings did more harm than good to contributing a perfectly healthy 87 of 61. Well played Rana!
Then Dinesh Kartik displayed his prowess at closing of an innings with a sparkling 21 of 10 balls which displayed a variety of vintage Kartik innovations.
This delightful cameo hauled the Knight Riders to an above-par total of 176, despite the valiant efforts of the CSK death bowlers, and the Super Kings were in for a steep chase.
The CSK innings began with customary caution as they surveyed the behaviour of the pitch. Once settled in his surroundings, Gaikwad (who I tipped to succeed in this article) went on to provide a flawless example of the peerless effect that confidence has on performance:
He elegantly blunted the likes of Cummins and Ferguson with a balletic poise and simplicity that would typically be associated with the great Rohit Sharma. His radiance was best demonstrated by the outrageous back foot punch for 6 that Gaikwad dared to execute; the sheer effortlessness when playing a shot reserved only for the greats of the game.
Gaikwad most certainly showed the “spark” that MSD is looking for!
Watson was content with playing 2nd fiddle until he was dismissed by the mystery spin of Varun Chakravarthy.
This occurrence brought the arrival of Ambati Rayudu who struck the ball with immediate ferocity and power as the ball simply flew of the bat of Rayudu. This eased the scoring burden from Gaikwad and the duo looked set to place CSK in a winning position.
Much to the dismay of the Super Kings, Rayudu met his demise when he attempted to tonk Cummins for a 4 too many. Not too long later, Dhoni was bamboozled by the wizardry of Varun Chakravarthy which, combined with a couple of quiet overs, put CSK in dire straits.
Gaikwad also succumbed for a fine 72, an innings that would surely cement his place for next year, which left Curran and Jadeja with a mountain to climb, a mountain that many would deem unassailable with the batsmen remaining…
Jadeja, ever the game changer with the bat, ball and in the field, smacked 2 fours and a 6 which gave CSK a very achievable target of 10 of the last over.
Nagarkoti held his nerve for the first 4 balls as he hung the ball the wide outside off stump and away from the devastating hitting arcs of Jadeja and Curran. 7 was required of the last 2 balls and poor old Nagarkoti strayed away from the tactics that worked earlier in the over and bowled 2 balls into the body and Jadeja sent him into the stands for 2 glorious sixes. The game was won at last!
From Jadeja’s hitting exploits to Gaikwad’s brilliance, today was a game full of individual performances that CSK fans can cherish and hope to see more of next season.