MUMBAI: Kolkata Knight Riders chased down 132 in 18.3 overs against the defending champions Chennai Super Kings (131-5) in the first match of the IPL 2022 to seal a six-wicket victory. Here are prominent highlights of the match –
Umesh Yadav’s supersonic spell: Yadav carries the reputation of being wayward especially with the new ball, but on Saturday he bowled with appreciable precision and bite. He nipped out Ruturaj Gaikwad and Devon Conway in his opening spell to rattle Chennai’s top order. CSK could not recover from the jolt and were ultimately restricted to subpar total. Yadav conceded only 20 runs in 4 overs and was easily the pick of the bowlers.
Dhoni’s late burst: Chennai were reeling at 61-5 in 11 overs at one point and were at risk of getting skittled out under 100. But MS Dhoni, who quit captaincy just two days ahead of the match, held the innings together and helped Chennai reach a respectable score of 131-5 in 20 overs. He was circumspect early but teed off in the last three overs. He was particularly severe on Kolkata’s Andre Russell and smashed five fours off him.
Chennai plundered 47 runs in the last three overs due to Dhoni’s whirlwind half century (50* off 38 balls).
Rumbustious Rahane: One doesn’t usually associate Ajinkya Rahane with the epithet ‘rumbustious’, but he unfurled a breezy innings of 44 (off 34 balls) on a slightly tricky pitch and paved the way to victory for Kolkata. He was axed from the Test side a month ago but he seemed unruffled as he played an array of delightful shots. His 43-run partnership for the first wicket with Venkatesh Iyer made light of the chase. He looked set to complete his fifty but lobbed a simple catch to Jadeja at widwicket off left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner.
Brilliant ‘Bravo’: Dwayne was the only Chennai bowler who posed some difficulties for Kolkata batsmen. He varied his pace craftily and snared Iyer, Nitish Rana and Sam Billings. He has now become the joint highest wicket-taker (170), along with Lasith Malinga, in the history of the IPL.
Kolkata scupper losing streak: With the six-wicket victory, Kolkata have ended their four-match losing streak against Chennai. This is also the second time Chennai have lost their opening match of the IPL as defending champions. They had lost their first game in 2012 to Mumbai Indians after winning the title in 2011.