After pushing themselves to a corner for the second H2H game in a row versus the Knight Riders, all-rounders Sam Curran and Ravindra Jadeja pulled off a late heist to shatter KKR hearts in Dubai. The architect of CSK’s win was young Gaikwad, who struck a 53-ball 72 to set up the win.
KKR 7.5/10 - 48/0 looks like an effort and a half on paper, but really, they could - and should - very well have been around the 60-run mark. Nitish Rana, who was 6 off 16 at one point, did not attempt to up the ante until the last over and his no-show neutralized a fine start from Gill, who initially raced off to 22(10).
CSK 7.5/10 - Unlike KKR, CSK did not have one batsman go all guns blazing and one completely kill the momentum; both Gaikwad and Watson measuredly took their chances and the former, in particular, played a few delightful strokes. Could have gone a bit harder and gotten closer to the 55-run mark, though.
KKR 3/10 - All but one over in the middle phase was bowled by bowlers turning the ball into the left-hander, and all but one over was faced completely by left-handers. Yet, 58/3 was all KKR could manage. Pretty shocking, to say the least. An abomination of a period where neither the management nor the batsmen in the middle, got their plans right. All CSK did were put the ball on the wicket.
CSK 9/10 - Couldn’t have asked for a better phase. Post Watson’s dismissal, Gaikwad and Rayudu paced the chase to perfection - better than CSK have done in any other game this season. A standout in this 77-run phase was the running between the wickets and a testament to the same was CSK playing a grand total of 1 dot ball between overs 7.5 and 14.0. Yes, believe it.
CSK 2/10 - The first death over bowled by Karn Sharma, which cost 19 runs, pretty much set the (wrong) tone for CSK, who lost the plot at the death after doing exceedingly well for 15 overs. The final five overs cost 66 runs and while they did execute their plans against Morgan well, they offered one too many ‘hit me’ balls to both Rana and DK. A disappointing effort.
KKR 7/10 - For 27 balls, the Knight Riders were flawless with their plans and execution. However, everything went downhill post the beamer bowled by Lockie Ferguson. The Kiwi lost his composure and left too few for Nagarkoti to defend in the final over. A commendable effort, nevertheless.
KKR, umm, don’t have a plan up-front
Much has been spoken about Kolkata’s middle-order mashups, but let’s dedicate a moment to their top-order, shall we? Shubman Gill has, time and again, clarified that his role is to play anchor and let the other, more able hitters go bonkers as he holds fort, yet Nitish Rana’s approach up-front suggested otherwise. For starters, Gill got off to a flyer (great) - 22 off 10 balls - but with CSK’s bowling there for the taking, his partner, Rana, was leaving and blocking balls deliberately. That was puzzling to say the least. If indeed Rana thought, “Hey, Shubman is going well. Let me take my time” that is not so wise, I’d imagine. Did he - and KKR - not watch the SRH game at this venue, where both openers ditched the overrated anchor role and went hell for leather? Aside from not knowing who their openers are, it seems KKR have no idea about what roles individuals are supposed to play, either.
CSK have simply not got enough from Deepak Chahar this season
The conclusion of the 3rd over of KKR’s innings, today, marked the third consecutive game of Deepak Chahar going wicketless in the powerplay. On the back of his 0/30 (3) against Mumbai and 0/17 (2) versus RCB, Chahar produced a 0/20 (2) today and it was telling that even on what seemed like a sticky wicket, Dhoni was clear that he was not going to give Chahar a third inside the first six. Quite honestly, it was a powerplay to forget for Chahar, who served runs on a platter to Gill right from ball one. What will concern both CSK and team India, though, is the right-armer’s dwindling returns in a season where pacers have dominated. Compared to his 1.29 wkts per game last season, Chahar, this season, has claimed just 0.92 wickets per game and his impotency up-front has also piled more pressure and misery on the spinners, who have already had a tough time of their own. For India’s sake, at least, Chahar needs to turn it around and turn it around quickly.
Farewell, Mr. Watson?
Even by CSK’s abnormal standards, they stretched it with Shane Watson this season. Riding on the “give him a long rope, he will pay you back” theory, they shut outside noise and put their full faith in him, but while the 83* versus Punjab was ought to be the turning point, it has, instead, ended up being the ‘blinding’ point. Today versus the Knight Riders, Watson was, quite puzzlingly, brought back into the side in place of Faf and the juxtaposition between the knocks of himself and young Gaikwad showed and proved exactly why it is high time for CSK to move on. While at one end, the youngster was timing, caressing and punching the ball with utmost grace, at the other, the veteran, despite muscling a couple towards the boundary, looked lost and defeated, unsure as to how he was going to get his runs, or construct his innings. Today, in many ways, was a cruel lesson for CSK, who would be kicking themselves for trusting a cul-de-sac despite there being a clear, brighter and better alternative.
Needing 23 off 8 balls, the game looked certain to slip out of CSK’s hands but an untimely no-ball from Lockie Ferguson gave the Men in Yellow the shift in momentum they needed. Jadeja and Curran, from thereon, made no mistake and took CSK home to delight fans of KKR, SRH and KXIP.
Match Frenzy O Meter - Decent
Both KKR and CSK matches have been painful to watch this season, and today’s fixture was almost like the unstoppable force vs the immovable object. Moments of frenzy were few and far between, but Ruturaj Gaikwad’s innings alone made the game bearable.