IPL 2018: Chennai Super Kings negate Andre Russell blitz, beat Kolkata Knight Riders | cricket | Hindustan Times
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IPL 2018: Chennai Super Kings negate Andre Russell blitz, beat Kolkata Knight Riders

Sam Billings played a little gem as Chennai Super Kings (CSK) once again pulled off a thrilling chase, beating Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) by five wickets in an IPL encounter, on Tuesday.

cricket Updated: Apr 11, 2018 00:13 IST
N. Ananthanarayanan
Sam Billings in action during match five of the Indian Premier League 2018 (IPL 2018) between Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
Sam Billings in action during match five of the Indian Premier League 2018 (IPL 2018) between Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.(BCCI )

As Andre Russell hurtled towards his 36-ball unbeaten 88, it wasn’t clear whether Chennai Super Kings skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was in a dilemma over bowling choices due to the Caribbean enforcer or was forced due to a docile MA Chidambaram Stadium pitch. (CSK vs KKR UPDATES)

Dhoni, marking his emotional return after two years to CSK’s den, used five bowlers in the power play overs and had Kolkata Knight Riders five-down at the halfway mark, yet used spinners Harbhajan Singh and Ravindra Jadeja for only two overs each. (CSK vs KKR SCORES)

In the end, it proved Indian Premier League’s (IPL) biggest icon had read conditions and the opposition to perfection, leading the twice former champions to their second win on return after a two-year suspension in a high-scoring contest.

Dhoni (25) joined forces with England limited-overs specialist, Sam Billings (56) in a 54-run stand as CSK overhauled KKR’s huge 202/6 with a ball to spare.

READ: IPL 2018: Cauvery protesters throw shoes, removed by police during CSK-KKR game in Chennai

For the fifth straight game in IPL 2018, the team electing to bowl first had successfully chased down a total with CSK finishing on 205 for five in 19.5 overs.

Billings, the 26-year-old who replaced the injured Kedar Jadhav in the team, seized the chance with his new franchise. His sheer timing, clean hitting and matching Dhoni in taking quick singles stood out. And he gave Russell the treatment the Caribbean all-rounder had meted out to the CSK bowlers. The best was a scooped six followed by a straight one into the stands.

READ: Why CSK vs KKR IPL 2018 toss got delayed, a bizarre reason!

He fell with CSK needing 19 runs off eight balls, but with CSK needing 17 off the last over, seamer Vinay Kumar turned villain. He conceded a six off a no ball, two off the free-hit, and a wide later, leaving the home team winners with a ball to spare. Needing four off two, Jadeja sealed it with a six.

RUSSELL RULES

At the halfway point, it was local player Dinesh Karthik-led KKR that looked like sealing the contest, and that was because of Russell.

It would have taken plenty of conviction for KKR to retain the all-rounder ahead of the mega auction for IPL 2018 in January. The big Jamaican had been banned for a year for violating the doping code’s whereabouts clause. He then did his hamstring in during the Pakistan Super League T20.

KKR, in a reshuffle mode, still kept faith by retaining Russell. And on Tuesday night the 29-year-old showed why the franchise bosses stuck with him. His sensational 36-ball 88 not out – his fourth IPL half-century – turned the innings on its head.

Sunil Narine’s 12 off four deliveries and Chris Lynn’ 22 gave a racy start, only for Harbhajan Singh and Ravindra Jadeja to strike with the new ball in the powerplay overs to remove both openers.