T20 cricket is meant to be entertaining. For the audience entertainment in cricket comes from the number of runs scored during the course of the match and not the number of wickets. Cricket pitches prepared for these matches have to favour stroke play while giving the bowlers an equal chance. But the pitch at the MA Chidambaram Stadium has been a disappointment on that count. The match between Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders was boring to watch.
Chennai Super Kings, however, have kept a clean sheet at home so far. Yesterday they got the better of Kolkata Knight Riders by 7 wickets. Deepak Chahar took three wickets in his first three overs. Chris Lynn was the first to go as he tried to pull a short ball that did not bounce much and was trapped lbw. Harbhajan Singh got the wicket of the dangerous Sunil Narine. Chahar then dismissed Nitish Rana and by the time he got Robin Uthappa (11 off 9 balls), Knight Rider was 24 for 4 wickets. Dinesh Karthik did not last long either.
Andre Russell came out to bat when Imran Tahir had Karthik caught by Harbhajan Singh and KKR were 44 for 5 wickets. Russell has been to KKR’s rescue several times this season whether it be in scoring quick runs to get past a target or in shoring up the total in the first inning. But on this slow and sticky wicket, he too was reduced to grafting for runs. Even though he faced a majority of the balls in the 11.2 overs that he was at the crease, he could only score 50* (44 balls). He was lucky to have been dropped by Harbhajan Singh off Tahir when on 8 runs. KKR finished their 20 overs scoring 108 runs for nine wickets.
Shane Watson (17 off 9 balls) started the CSK chase with a cover drive off Piyush Chawla for four runs. Another four and a six flowed off his blade before Sunil Narine coaxed him to pull a ball straight to short square leg. Suresh Raina also seemed in a hurry to finish off the match. He hit Narine for a six straight back over the bowlers head and followed it with a four off Prasidh Krishna. But Narine had the last laugh when Raina top-edged a ball when trying to hit another big one and was caught brilliantly by Piyush Chawla.
Ambati Raidu joined Faff du Plessis. The two batsmen batted patiently waiting for the loose ball to punish it to the boundary. The required run rate rarely went above the scoring rate. By the time Ambati Raydu got out caught by Raina off Chawla, CSK needed 28 runs off 5.2 overs. Faff du Plessis and Kedar Jadhav saw CSK home in 17.2 overs. Faff du Plessis remained not out for a well compiled 43 off 45 balls while Kedar Jadhav was on 8 runs.
Chennai Super Kings have won 5 of their 6 matches this season and with 10 points look like they are well on their way to the playoffs for the second successive season.