Two-time winners Chennai Super Kings (CSK) pulled off a sensational last-ball two-run victory over defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) with some brilliant bowling and fielding which saw them defend a low score in their thrilling IPL match in Chennai on Wednesday.
Put into bat, Chennai found the going tough against Kolkata Knight Riders, who produced a disciplined bowling performance to restrict the hosts to 134 for six in their stipulated 20 overs.
However, the Super Kings returned with a clinical bowling and fielding performance, led by Dwayne Bravo (3/22) and R Ashwin (2/5), to restrict Kolkata to 132 for nine and continue their domination at home.
Needing 17 runs off six balls in the end, Ryan ten Doeschate (38 not out) blasted a six and a couple of fours but it proved too little and too late as Kolkata fell short by two runs at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
With this victory, Chennai reached the top of the table with six wins in seven matches, pushing Rajasthan Royals, who have five wins in eight matches, to the second spot.
Chasing 134, Kolkata had a disastrous start as their skipper Gambhir (0) was dismissed by Ishwar Pandey in the second ball of the innings.
Fellow opener Robin Uthappa (39) then shared a 51-run partnership with Manish Pandey (15). The duo blasted eight boundaries and one six in their 29-ball second wicket partnership.
However, CSK skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni soon introduced Ashwin into the attack and the spinner got him a wicket with the very first delivery, dismissing Uthappa with Brendon McCullum pulling off a smart catch at short midwicket.
In his second over, Ashwin took another wicket in his first ball, sending Pandey back into the hut with Bravo taking the catch at the deep midwicket area as KKR slipped to 61-3 in 7.1 overs.
Yusuf Pathan (13) and Suryakumar Yadav (16) tried to steady the innings but with Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja bowling in tandem, the boundaries dried up.
With the required run-rate mounting, Yadav tried to pull a quick Mohit Sharma ball but Bravo pulled off a stunning low catch with one hand, running in from long-on, as Kolkata slumped to 76 for 4 in 12.2 overs.
Needing 47 off 31 balls, Pathan went for a big shot off Bravo, only to see his inside edge disturb the stumps as KKR looked down the barrel at 91 for five in 15.2 overs.
Andre Russell (4) was the next to depart when his pursuit to take a second run ended with a run out, while Pat Cummins holed out to Jadeja off Bravo at deep midwicket.
Next man Piyush Chawla (0) too departed without disturbing the scoreboard after he was deceived by a slower delivery from Bravo.
Earlier, Andre Russell (2/26) and Piyush Chawla (2/26) were the pick of the bowlers with two wickets each, while Brad Hogg (1/18) snapped one after Kolkata skipper Gautam Gambhir won the toss and elected to field.
Dwayne Smith (25) and Brendon McCullum (19) gave Chennai a blistering start as they put the KKR attack to the sword and picked up fours and sixes at will to amass 38 in four overs.
Gambhir then introduced Chawla into the attack and the leg-spinner dismissed McCullum after trapping him in front of the wicket. The New Zealand skipper blasted three fours and one six in his 14-ball innings.
New batsman Suresh Raina, however, seemed unfazed as he sent Chawla over the fence with a powerful slog sweep in the square leg region in the last ball of the over.
Spinner Brad Hogg and pacer Andre Russell then checked the run flow with some good bowling as Smith and Raina looked for singles and twos.
In the ninth over, Smith was dismissed by a brilliant throw from Yusuf Pathan who hit the stumps after the batsmen were trying to steal a quick single. The West Indies batsman hit three boundaries and a six in his 19-ball stay.
In the next over, Russell sent Raina packing when he induced an edge from the batsman with wicketkeeper Robin Uthappa taking the catch as Chennai were reduced to 67 for 3.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (3) also didn't last for too long as his six-ball stay was cut short by a bouncer from Russell as Chennai slumped to 81 for 4.
Chawla then returned to dismiss West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo (5), who went for a big shot but ended up giving a simple catch to S Yadav at long-off.
New man Faf du Plessis (29 not out) then brought up the hundred for Chennai with a couple of runs at deep square leg.
With wickets tumbling, Du Plessis and Ravindra Jadeja (15) needed some big hits but the duo failed to raise the run-rate with Hogg cleaning up the latter with a quicker ball in the 19th over.