If Chennai Super Kings bought Ravindara Jadeja at a whopping $2 million a few years ago, it was not for nothing. The 24-year-old all-rounder justified his price-tag again by powering the two-time champions to a four-wicket win over defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders.
Bowling his left-arm spin with precision and smartness, Jadeja bagged three wickets for 20 runs, apart from taking two catches, to help CSK restrict the opposition to a modest total of 119 for nine. He followed it up with a murderous 36 not out of only14 balls (3x4, 3x6).
Chasing 120, the formidable CSK batting line-up made heavy weather of the target. At one stage, they required 50 in the last five overs. But Jadeja made the job easier with his defiant knock and capped the victory in the first ball of the last over. This was CSK’s fourth win in six games and they advanced to the third position in the league table with eight points. On the other hand, the defeat--their fourth in six matches and the first on home turf--jeopardized KKR’s chances of making it to the play-off stage.
Though Jadeja starred in the CSK win, it was opening batsman Michael Hussey, who laid the foundation with a responsible 40 (51 balls, 2x4, 1x6). He anchored the innings before being the last man out. On the slow and turning track, CSK off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin too delivered the goods, picking up two wickets for 21 runs. Another factor that stood out in the CSK win was their extraordinary fielding. Two superb catches and as many run outs turned the game dramatically in their favour. From a healthy 46 for no loss, KKR slumped to 55 for four in 14 balls.
First, Hussey pulled off a brilliant diving catch at third-man to send back Gambhir in the sixth over. Two deliveries later, S Badrinath dismissed Jacques Kallis with a direct hit from point, where he had only one stump to aim at. In the eighth over, KKR repeated this with Jadeja taking a brilliant running catch at square-leg area to send back Eoin Morgan and an athletic Dwayne Bravo running out Pathan with a throw to Dhoni from wide mid-on. CSK’s new pace bowling talent Mohit Sharma, too, made a notable contribution, taking two good catches. Earlier, KKR got off to a flourishing start with Gautam Gambhir and his new partner Yusuf Pathan compiling 46 runs in 5.5 overs. But KKR squandered the good start due to poor shot selection and poorer running between the wickets. A lot was expected from tree local talents Manoj Tiwary, Debabrata Das, Laxmi Ratan Shukla and Delhi all-rounder Rajat Bhatia. But they only disappointed. In fact, Sunil Narine proved better as his two sixes carried them past the 100-run mark.