Chennai Super Kings seemed to cruise towards an easy victory on Wednesday against the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) until Windies all-rounder Andre Russell rocked their seamless sail. The Caribbean power-hitter let hell loose upon the CSK bowlers as he smashed a 21-ball fifty. Only when Russell looked to power KKR home, young English gun Sam Curran outsmarted the KKR batter with a surprising delivery to claim his wicket.
The delivery which turned the tide back into CSK's favour until Pat Cummins explosive innings earned the English all-rounder praise. 'Voice of Cricket' Harsha Bhogle also questioned 'if there is anything that Curran couldn't do' as he called the game on-air. Curran foxed Andre Russell as he bowled a length delivery pitching down the leg side at a time when most of the fielders were placed at the offside. Reviewing the game-changing moment after victory, CSK skipper MS Dhoni revealed if the delivery and the fieldset was a planned strategy to dismiss Russell.
“No… You know that’s the beauty of it, once you are successful, you can say yeah it was planned because we had bowled so many outside off so one on the leg stump but no, it was not really planned,” Dhoni said when asked about Curran’s delivery to Russell.
Coming in to bat at No.7 when KKR were tottering at 31 for 5, Russell played an innings of 54 off 22 balls that included six sixes. Commenting on Russell's innings, MS Dhoni lamented that once you take plenty of early wickets, the big hitters come out with nothing to lose and play exactly like what the KKR all-rounder did. The CSK skipper also admitted that there's not much that one could do after the 16th over as the contest was between the fast bowler and the batsman itself.
Revealing what he told the players after the first innings, Dhoni said that he wanted the players to be humble. Highlighting that there's no reason why the opposition can chase down the target set, Dhoni acknowledged that CSK's batting has been good this season.
“From the 16th over onwards the contest was between the fast bowler and the batsman. You can't do too much. Can't put a different field. It's about you vs me. The side that has won is a side that has executed slightly better. But if they would've had more wickets, could've been different. Have seen enough in cricket, always like to be humble. There's no good reason if you have scored, the opposition can't score. My lines to the players were that we have got good runs on the board but let's be humble. The batting has been really good,” Dhoni added.
CSK posted a mammoth total of 220/3 from their 20 overs after being asked to bat first. Openers Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis added 115 runs for the opening wicket before the former's dismissal in the 13th over. Faf then continued his splendid run with the bat as he took the Kolkata bowlers to the cleaners and in the end missed out on a well-deserved century as he remained unbeaten on a 60-ball 95 at a strike rate of 158.33 including nine boundaries and four maximums.
In reply, the two-time winners were staring down the barrel at 31/5 before Powerplay before the middle-order duo of Andre Russell (54), and, Dinesh Karthik (40) added an 81-run stand for the sixth wicket. Lower-order batsman Pat Cummins then waged a lone battle with his unbeaten 34-ball 66 at a strike rate of 194.12 that included four boundaries and six maximums. However, he did not receive any support from the other end as KKR were eventually bundled out for 202 in the final over as CSK registered an 18-run win. By the virtue of this win, the three-time champions have registered their third win of this season and currently occupy the 'Numero Uno' spot in IPL 2021 points table.