CHENNAI : Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming had said on Monday that his team had limited options in terms of bowling resources, and that they had to be sharp to tame Kolkata Knight Riders’ Andre Russell. And true to those words, Chennai bowlers had a long net session under Fleming’s and bowling coach L Balaji’s watch, with an emphasis on the lengths to curb power-hitting.
That homework showed, as Chennai bowlers restricted Kolkata to 108/9 on Tuesday, thanks to a spirited display from speedster Deepak Chahar (3/20) and spin duo of Harbhajan Singh (2/15) and Imran Tahir (2/21).The hosts achieved the same without much fuss thanks to an unbeaten 43 by Faf du Plessis. After Shane Watson and Suresh Raina fell early, Du Plessis and Ambati Rayudu added 46 for the third wicket. The South African and Kedar Jadhav notched up the remaining runs.
One expected the visitors’ power-packed batting line-up to come good on a dry surface that looked like it had runs, but that was not to be. Their top order caved in to disciplined bowling by Chahar and Chennai’s spinners.
Chahar, who had a night to forget during Chennai’s loss against Mumbai Indians, was a different bowler altogether on Tuesday. He bowled tidy lines, and did not give the length or width for batsmen to play their shots. Then Harbhajan and Tahir flighted the ball well, using an attacking approach to stifle the visitors’ middle-order.
Kolkata may have been rolled up for less than 100 had Harbhajan held on to a skier from Russell off Tahir. But the Jamaican used that reprieve to notch up an unbeaten 50 off 44. A lot depended upon openers Chris Lynn and Sunil Narine to give the visitors a good start. But the duo fell cheaply. Lynn went for a slog and missed a straight delivery from Chahar to be trapped in front. Harbhajan lured the hard-hitting Narine into a slog with a loopy delivery that spun away, and Chahar made no mistake and latched on to the resultant skier at backward point.
These two wickets triggered a collapse as the visitors then lost Nitish Rana and Robin Uthappa, and were left reeling at 24/4. Then they never really recovered.“Chahar bowled brilliantly. He moved the ball both ways and it was nice to see a pacer go about the way he did in Chennai’s conditions. He used the shine of the ball well too,” complimented former India pacer Tinu Yohannan.
“The confidence that (MS) Dhoni has given to Chahar has done wonders. He appeared a much-improved bowler today. Full marks to Dhoni for shuffling his bowlers well and setting an attacking field to maintain the pressure.”Bollywood superstar and Kolkata owner Shahrukh Khan was also present at the stadium, and he must have been disappointed with his team’s show.