Chennai: Reigning champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) began their title defence with a thrilling two-run win over Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) as the fourth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) got off to a sensational start here on Friday.
Chennai rode on opener Srikkanth Anirudha’s 64-run knock and his two partnerships with Suresh Raina (33) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (29) to post 153 for four after electing to bat.
Their spinners bowled well and they restricted Kolkata to 151 for seven at the M A Chidamabaram stadium.
Kolkata had lost five wickets at 120 by the 17th over but Manoj Tiwary (27 off 15) played a sensational cameo to bring them back in the match.
However, in the end Chennai won the battle of nerves as Tim Soutee gave away just six runs in the final over when Kolkata needed nine to win.
Jacques Kallis played a brilliant 54-run knock at the top but it was Chennai’s day out there as their spinners bowled well under pressure.
All the four Chennai spinners got a wicket each with both R. Ashwin and Shadab Jakati giving away just 26 runs each in their quote of four overs.
Kolkata got the start they needed, as Kallis and Manvinder Bisla raised 64 runs upfront but their middle order could not build on that.
Kallis was the more prolific scorer of the two openers, as he creamed Southee for three boundaries in the fourth over while Bisla relied more on rotating the strike.
The duo scored 44 in the first five overs but Bisla, who survived a stumping chance in the sixth over off Suraj Randiv, could not build on to the good start.
Bisla was finally stumped off Shadab Jakati in the ninth over as Chennai skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni made up for the earlier mistake.
Kallis hit Albie Morkel for consecutive boundaries and dangerous Yusuf Pathan hit a massive six off Jakati to give impetus to Kolkata chase.
However, Pathan (11) could not last long as he was run out on a brilliant piece of fielding from Dhoni.
Kallis, wanting to complete his fifty, called for a run after nudging the ball on the leg side. Dhoni was lightening fast in collecting the ball and found Pathan short with a direct throw on the stumps.
The South African all rounder completed his half-century with a single off Jakati but soon departed when his sweep off R. Ashwin’s full toss landed in the hands of S. Badrinath.
Kolkata skipper Gautam Gambhir sent Manoj Tiwary and Eoin Morgan ahead of himself and they required 36 runs from the last four overs.
Raina deceived Morgan (6) to have him stumped out and finally Gambhir, the costliest player at the IPL auction in January, came to the crease. However, Gambhir (1) could not do much as he was run out after facing just two balls.
Two quick wickets pegged Kolkata back as they still needed 26 runs off the last two overs with big hitters back in the pavilion.