IPL: Three things learned as Super Kings leave it late against the Knight Riders

Alex Broun 10/04/2018
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Sam Billings scored a superb 50 for Chennai

A superb innings from young England batsman Sam Billings (56 off 23) and some late heroics from Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja, saw the Chennai Super Kings through to a thrilling last-over victory over the Kolkata Knight Riders on Tuesday night in Chennai.

Earlier Andre Russell unleashed his full array of strokes in a powerhouse stay at the crease that in the end came to nothing in a match that was well worthy of the IPL’s return to Chennai.

Here are our three things learned:

Andre Russell blasted 11 sixes in his 88 no

Andre Russell blasted 11 sixes in his 88 no

Kolkata has some clean hitters

After just two matches it’s clear, surprise package the Knight Riders clearly possess two of the cleanest hitters in the tournament in Andre Russell and Robin Uthappa.

Russell smashed 11 huge sixes in his 88 off just 36 balls (SR: 244.44) including the biggest maximum so far in the tournament – a 105-metre slog over the grandstand at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium which forced the umpires to quickly send for another ball.

He would have scored even more if England all-rounder Tom Curran had not wasted the three balls in the final over – a trio of deliveries that Russell could have used to propel himself past 100.

The Jamaican was dropped by Jadeja on the boundary when he was 47 – a miss that proved very costly as Russell launched a recovery that saw Kolkata go from 89 for five to set a challenging total of 202 – and saw the 29-year-old grab the orange cap for the current highest run-scorer in the tournament.

Uthappa only stayed for 16 balls, before stupidly running himself out, but he also launched three blasts into the crowd including a 90-metre hoik over long leg.

Super Kings’ spinners can shine

It’s just two games in but Chennai clearly have an impressive arsenal of spinners who take wickets and keep the scoring rate down.

MS Dhoni, who usually swaps his bowlers superbly, will be wishing he used his spinners more and pacemen less, especially Dwayne Bravo who went for an unusually high 50 off his three overs including seven sixes.

The Chennai skipper will be greatly regretting not giving Harbhajan Singh another over or two after the veteran spinner only went for 11 off his tidy two overs including the wicket of in-form Sunil Narine.

Jadeja (19 for one off two overs) also could have been used more.

Pakistan spinner Imran Tahir also got through his four overs for 26 runs without a wicket.

Best of the pacemen was Shane Watson who took two for 39 off four cagey overs, bagging the wickets of Nitish Rana (caught Dhoni) and Dinesh Karthik (LBW).

Shane Watson impressed with both the bat and ball

Shane Watson impressed with both the bat and ball

Watson is far from past it

Supposedly no longer at his best a few years now, the aging all-rounder has shown he has still got it both with the bat and ball.

His two wickets with the ball made him the top wicket-taker after five matches with four.

Then with the bat he got Chennai off to a perfect start picking up 16 off the first over, including a majestic driven six straight back over the bowler’s head.

He then was gifted a five by a disastrous piece of fielding by the Knight Riders to take him to 21 off just 7 balls.

He continued at the same pace scoring 42 off 19 balls (including three sixes) before, much to his frustration, holing out off Curran to Rinku Singh in cow-corner – the young Englishman giving the Aussie a big verbal send-off that may get some closer attention by the match referee, Sir Richie Richardson.

MS Dhoni clearly has faith in the 36-year-old and his faith is being richly rewarded at this stage of the tournament.

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IPL 2018: Chennai Super Kings fans welcome back MS Dhoni and co for first home game against Kolkata Knight Riders

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MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings were back at their home ground for the first time since the beginning of IPL 2018 on Tuesday.

And as expected, the yellow brigade was welcomed by fans in the city with much joy, love and a lot of noise.

As the team warmed-up, the crowd gathered in massive numbers at CSK’s home stadium for their first home game against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).

Here we take a look at some of the best pictures and tweet as Lions reached their den.

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IPL 2018: Andre Russell hits CSK's Dwayne Bravo onto the roof twice in stunning KKR innings

David Cooper 10/04/2018
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Dwayne Bravo put on a great exhibition of big-hitting against Mumbai Indians when he scored a match-winning 68 off just 30 balls.

However, in Chennai Super Kings‘ second match, the Trinidadian was on the receiving end of some fine slogging from Andre Russell.

Kolkata Knight Riders batted first and struggled to get going. They needed to accelerate at the death and Russell was just the man for the job.

In the 16th over, he really went after Bravo and on one occasion, launched a massive strike out of the stadium. The six travelled 105 metres and forced the umpires to call for another ball.

He really put Bravo to the sword in the 18th over when he smashed the first three balls for six, the first of which hit the roof again, but this knocking back in off the advertising board.

Russell hit a remarkable 88 off just 36 balls, including 11 sixes, to power KKR to a total of 202/6.

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