Chennai: R Ashwin bowled a virulent opening spell before Suresh Raina played an annihilative 78-run knock to bring Chennai Super Kings back in the semifinal hunt as the hosts scored a comprehensive nine-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders in their crucial IPL match on Tuesday.
The Chennai team with this win, which came with 6.3 overs to spare, has virtually shut the semifinal door on Kolkata, who are languishing at number seven in the points table.
Chennai have jumped to second position from six in the points table and are tied on 12 points with four other teams as the race to the semifinals is hotting up.
Ashwin’s devastating three-wicket spell, in which he polished off the Kolkata top-order, set up the win as all Kolkata could manage on the board in the make-or-break match was just 139 for eight after electing to bat at MA Chidambaram stadium.
Wicket of Mathew Hayden was the lone blot in Chennai’s chase as Raina’s sublime knock, bejewelled with 11 fours and three sixes, did not give any chance to Kolkata to claw their way back in the match.
Raina’s destructive innings came off just 39 balls and the left-hander finished the match in style with a six off Iqbal Abdullah as Chennai overhauled the target in 13.3 overs.
Chennai Super Kings’ Suresh Raina plays a shot during the IPL3 match against Kolkata Knight Riders at the MAC stadium in Chennai on Tuesday. PTI
Murali Vijay played an unbeaten 50-run knock and supported Raina well with the duo raising an unbeaten 137-run partnership for the second wicket.
After cheap dismissal of Mathew Hayden (0) in the very first over, Raina ensured Chennai do go the Kolkata way and annihilated the rival attack with his fiery strokes.
The diminutive southpaw began his corrosive knock by hitting Ashok Dinda for three boundaries, of which two were exquisite off-side drives, in the paceman’s first over.
Raina treated Kolkata bowlers with utter disdain and each and every Kolkata bowler bore the brunt of his fury.
In just six overs, Chennai had scored 67 runs and the match was very much in their hands.
Raina rattled up his half-century with a massive six off Abdullah after consuming just 24 balls. The fifty was laced with 10 boundaries.
Earlier, Ashwin’s (3/16) devastating spin bowling spell punctured Kolkata’s hopes of a good start as they lost four wickets at a score of 19 inside fifth over.
It was 73-run fifth-wicket partnership between Manoj Tiwary (27) and Angelo Mathews (48) that pulled Kolkata out of dire straits and gave something to their bowlers to defend.
Kolkata Knight Riders: 139 for 8 in 20 overs. (A Mathews 48, M Tiwary 27; R Ashiwn 3/16, D Bollinger 2/15).
Chennai Super Kings: 143 for one in 13.3 overs, (S Raina 78 not out, M Vijay 50 not out; C Gayle 1/35).