Ravindra Jadeja’s top act sets up easy CSK win over KKR at IPL 2024 | Crickit
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Ravindra Jadeja’s top act sets up easy CSK win over KKR at IPL 2024

By, Kolkata
Apr 08, 2024 11:37 PM IST

Takes 3/18 in unbroken spell to break KKR’s resolve after high-scoring powerplay.

Runs haven’t been coming as fluently, the bowling wasn’t always on point, and ceding the Chennai Super Kings captaincy couldn’t have been easy as well. Ravindra Jadeja has rarely faced an examination of this magnitude in a format he has been least questioned in.

Chennai Super Kings' Ravindra Jadeja with Mahendra Singh Dhoni celebrates after taking the wicket of Kolkata Knight Riders' Angkrish Raghuvanshi (PTI)
Chennai Super Kings' Ravindra Jadeja with Mahendra Singh Dhoni celebrates after taking the wicket of Kolkata Knight Riders' Angkrish Raghuvanshi (PTI)

On a true Chennai pitch though, Jadeja finally found his footing. Three quick wickets make up half the story in this comprehensive seven-wicket victory against Kolkata Knight Riders, but more exciting for CSK surely is the return of Jadeja the run-strangler. Eleven dot balls in an unbroken spell on the heels of CSK conceding their most expensive powerplay this season was just the sort of riposte they would have wanted.

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Serving an icing on it were the breakthroughs. An easy way to describe Jadeja’s bowling irrespective of formats is his relentless accuracy. It sometimes though glosses over the changes of length that speak of a constantly calculative mind. Having watched Angkrish Raghuvanshi adapt to the two-paced nature of the pitch by trying to hit straighter, Jadeja didn’t waste time to test his range by pitching length and predictably straight.

That Raghuvanshi could have lined up any part of the ground is another story, but he went for the reverse sweep and completely missed the line. More substantiation of Jadeja’s impeccable length came in Raghuvanshi not choosing to review the decision, and he was proved right by replays.

To Narine though, Jadeja went with wider lines. First attempt was called a wide. But the next was a real teaser, prompting Narine to throw his hands at it and miscue to Maheesha Theekshana at wide long-off. The delivery that got rid of Venkatesh Iyer was probably the most innocuous — fired in short and quick — and probably hoping for another miscued heave considering how the pitch was slowing down. Playing across the line was never on, but Venkatesh still tried, and holed out to Daryll Mitchell at midwicket. Twelve runs in the subsequent 16 balls from Jadeja were enough to break KKR’s resolve, this after they had cruised to 56/1 from the first six overs.

Overall, 81 runs in the 14 overs after the powerplay elaborated KKR’s struggle to put bat to ball on a slowing pitch. Shreyas Iyer tried to play anchor with a 32-ball 34 but without much support as Ramandeep Singh, Andre Russell and Rinku Singh all failed to connect with the big shots. By then though the message was well and truly delivered to KKR that on this pitch, bowling as slow as possible held the key to a possible fightback. But KKR inexplicably held back their most penetrative bowlers.

Sunil Narine, KKR’s most successful spinner ever, didn’t get the ball till just after the powerplay. Varun Chakaravarthy, the local boy, not till the eighth. By then CSK had almost pocketed the game. Mitchell Starc started off with a decent four-run over but then to Rachin Ravindra he pitched full twice before ending up bowling a full toss on leg-stump. Ravindra punished each of them for boundaries. Vaibhav Arora followed up on a promising opening act with a three-run over where he dismissed Ravindra as well but 12 runs off the next over from Anukul Roy’s slow-left-arm bowling meant CSK had reduced their target to under 100 with 15 overs to go.

With Arora haemorrhaging two boundaries after Mitchell had been dropped by Ramandeep Singh at deep backward square-leg, CSK were finally looking in complete control. Mitchell played a good hand before Shivam Dube played his part. But at the heart of this emphatic chase was skipper Ruturaj Gaikwad playing a near-perfect fifty, on a pitch that called for plenty of caution.

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