Andre Russell’s incredible power hitting of 36-ball-88 runs propelled Kolkata to 202 but Shane Watson and Sam Billings’ crucial knocks helped Chennai to ace the chase and mark the homecoming of IPL at MA Chidambaram stadium after three years.
In a game that saw plenty of runs, Kolkata started the innings with aggression as openers Chris Lynn and Sunil Narine scored quick runs in powerplays. But both of them departed soon without making considerable damage. Narine’s miscued slog sweep against Harbhajan Singh was caught brilliantly by Suresh Raina in the third over while Ravindra Jadeja knocked out Lynn’s stumps in the sixth over with team score at 51.
Nitesh Rana too departed early and Robin Uthappa’s (29 off 16 balls) run-out after a highly promising start further pushed KKR back as Chennai sneaked in a few quiet overs. After eight overs KKR were 80 for two but after 15 overs they were choked to 123 for five wickets down.
Just when KKR looked to finish the innings at a sub-par total, Russell changed gears and created a flurry of sixes. He smashed four sixes against Thakur in the 16th over and 20th over and five sixes against Bravo in the 17th and 19th over. Russell smashed 11 sixes out of which one went out of the park and one hit stadium’s roof. This colossal hitting propelled KKR to 202 and Russell finished with 88 runs off 36 balls.
CSK replied to the target in style as Shane Watson (42 off 19 balls) and Ambati Rayadu (39 off 26 balls) added 75 runs for the first wicket in just 5.5 overs. But after their demise, Sunil Narine and Andre Russell kept boundaries at bay and brought KKR back in the hunt.
Sam Billings though had other ideas and his 23 balls 56 run knock which included five sixes pushed Chennai closer in the death overs. Russell removed Billings in the 19th over with Chennai needing 19 off eight balls.
Bravo smoked a six of the first ball of the last over bowled by Vinay Kumar and then Ravindra Jadeja nailed a six off the fifth ball to clinch a thrilling win for Chennai. Sunil Narine was the outstanding bowler from both sides as he conceded just 17 in his four overs.