IPL 2019: Dhoni criticises Chennai pitch again as KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik praises Russell's maturity

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MSD wasn't happy despite CSK's win. Image - BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

Dinesh Karthik saw his Kolkata Knight Riders side thrashed comprehensively by defending Indian Premier League (IPL) champions Chennai Super Kings on Tuesday but the skipper was impressed by the maturity shown by all-rounder Andre Russell.

Kolkata were restricted to just 108-9 in their 20 overs on a sluggish pitch at Chennai with Andre Russell battling with an unbeaten half-century. It was nowhere close to enough for the visitors in the end with Chennai chasing down the target comfortably with seven wickets to spare.

Russell had been in explosive form coming into the match with 207 runs scored off 77 balls in the previous matches but he was required to play a comfortably different type of knock against Chennai on a surface where spinners were extremely hard to get away.

Russell curbed his attacking instincts for much of his innings before bursting into life at the death overs to finish unbeaten on 50 (44).

After his side were handed only their second defeat of the campaign, Karthik said, “Definitely not enough runs.”

Andre Russell. Image: BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

Andre Russell. Image: BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

“Tricky games, games like these. You never know what’s a good score, with the dew and stuff. You always end up thinking you should have got more.

“Four wickets in the powerplay was definitely a setback, but good to see (Andre) Russell showing maturity.”

His Chennai counterpart MS Dhoni criticised the Chepauk pitch once again despite his team’s victory with batsmen finding the going tough on a slow pitch. The CSK skipper had taken aim at the home pitch after the campaign opener as well when his side had bowled out Royal Challengers Bangalore for just 70 runs in a similar seven-wicket win for the hosts.

“It became like the first game. Again we were cribbing about the track but we won. We’ve lost Bravo and it looks like this pitch suits us now but I don’t think we want to play on wickets like these because it becomes too low-scoring for the batsmen,” the veteran skipper stated after the match.

With the seven-wicket win on Tuesday, Chennai have gone back on the top of the IPL 2019 table with five victories so far from their six games.

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IPL 2019: Faf du Plessis and Deepak Chahar star as CSK thump KKR by seven wickets to go top

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A fine innings from Faf du Plessis. Image credit - @IPL/Twitter.

Defending champions Chennai Super Kings went back to the top of the 2019 Indian Premier League standings (IPL) with a seven-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders.

Both teams had come into the clash on the back of four wins apiece from their five games but it was MS Dhoni and his men who emerged triumphant on another slow deck at the Chepauk stadium.

Pacer Deepak Chahar along with spinners Harbhajan Singh and Imran Tahir starred with the ball to restrict Kolkata to just 108-9 in their 20 overs. Only all-rounder Andre Russell was able to have any impact with the bat for the visitors with his unbeaten half-century helping them breach the 100-run mark.

In reply, Chennai chased down the target with 16 balls to spare with Faf du Plessis leading the charge with an unbeaten 43.

DU PLESSIS SEES CHENNAI HOME ON SLUGGISH PITCH

A total of just 108 was always going to be under par for Kolkata but they did initially make a fist of it with Sunil Narine dismissing Shane Watson and Suresh Raina inside the powerplay. However, the hosts regrouped through a 46-run stand between Faf du Plessis and Ambati Rayudu who batted cautiously against the KKR spinners.

The South African batsman continued to build on his half-century in the last match in a crucial anchoring role even as Rayudu fell to Piyush Chawla in the 15th over of the chase.

The Proteas veteran kept a cool head and finished off things comfortably in the company of Kedar Jadhav with what was a thoroughly professional 45-ball 43.

CHAHAR GIVES CSK ELECTRIC START

Keeping the evening dew in mind, MS Dhoni elected to field first and the Chennai skipper was given a roaring start with the ball by his seamer Deepak Chahar.

Kolkata’s openers Sunil Narine and Chris Lynn had added 91 runs between them against Rajasthan just a couple of days ago but they could only muster a combined six runs at Chennai with Chahar and Harbhajan Singh striking early.

Chahar pinned Lynn on the pads in the very first over before he completed an excellent catch off the bowling of Harbhajan to send back the dangerous Narine. The Chennai seamer made it two wickets for himself in as many overs when he had Nitish Rana caught at midwicket before he also dismissed Robin Uthappa in his third over to reduce Kolkata to 24-4.

HARBHAJAN, TAHIR CHOKE KKR

After Chahar had done the initial damage with his pace, it was an all-out spin attack by the hosts subsequently with Kolkata’s batsmen tumbling one by one.

Veteran spinners Harbhajan and Tahir had been excellent for Chennai in the previous matches, especially at home, and they continued that form by cleverly mixing up their bowling speeds on a slow surface.

Harbhajan added the wicket of Piyush Chawla to go with that of Narine while the wily Tahir spun a web around Dinesh Karthik and Shubman Gill to end their stays. The South African leggie could have had a third in the form of Russell had Harbhajan not put down a sitter. The Windies all-rounder waged a lone battle henceforth with a fighting fifty but the Tahir-Harbhajan combo had seen Kolkata’s runs dry up significantly and that ultimately proved to be costly.

BRIEF SCORES

Kolkata Knight Riders: 108-9

Andre Russell: 50 not out (44)

Deepak Chahar: 3-20

Chennai Super Kings: 111-3

Faf du Plessis: 43 not out (45)

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IPL 2019 Fantasy: Chris Gayle and Alzarri Joseph among top picks for Mumbai Indians vs KXIP

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Joseph had a breathtaking IPL debut. Image - BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

The 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) season heads into match 24 with Mumbai Indians set to play host to Kings XI Punjab on Wednesday in what is the second meeting of the season between the two sides.

As fans, watching the action is not the only thing to look forward to – IPL fantasy games mean you have the opportunity to get involved as well.

As the IPL’s official partner, Dream11 runs a daily contest for each game apart from the default format which is conducted per round.

Here, we focus on helping you navigate your way through the form.

BATSMAN

Chris Gayle – Kings XI Punjab (10.5 credits)

There is no clear contender for this slot with the established batsmen from both sides blowing hot and cold so far.

As such, it is the big-hitting Chris Gayle who gets the nod with his T20 prowess never being in doubt. The explosive Jamaican started the 2019 campaign with a bang against Rajasthan Royals but has since gone off the boil with cheap dismissals in his last two appearances.

Still, the ‘Universe Boss’ never stays subdued for too long and the excellent batting surface and small boundaries at the Wankhede might just be the invitation the left-hander needs to reignite his campaign.

BOWLER

Alzarri Joseph – Mumbai Indians (8.5 credits)

With Lasith Malinga still away on domestic duty in Sri Lanka, it will be West Indies pacer Alzarri Joseph who will once again be expected to lead the line alongside Jason Behrendorrf for Mumbai.

The 22-year-old pacer had a devastating impact on his IPL debut against Sunrisers Hyderabad where he finished with sensational figures of 6-12 to help Mumbai defend a paltry target of 137.

It was the best ever display by any bowler in IPL history, let alone on debut, and it would be hard not to pick the Windies man on the back of that performance. The confidence will definitely be flowing through Joseph’s veins right now and that could translate into another prolific display on Wednesday.

ALL-ROUNDER

Hardik Pandya – Mumbai Indians (9.5 credits)

It is hard to look beyond Hardik Pandya for the all-rounder’s slot given the form the India man has displayed this season.

Having been a proven performer for Mumbai over the years, Pandya has looked in excellent touch with both bat and ball in the current campaign after an international season marred by injuries and controversies.

The right-hander did not have the best of games in the win against Hyderabad but he has previously played three quick-fire and much-needed cameos with the bat down the order. Along with his batting contributions, Pandya has also chipped in with four wickets with the ball including a match-winning three-wicket haul against CSK.

Back on his home ground, Pandya will relish the opportunity to land a few big blows with both bat and ball against Punjab.

WICKET-KEEPER

KL Rahul – Kings XI Punjab (10 credits)

After his stupendous individual campaign in 2018, much was expected from KL Rahul in the ongoing season but the Punjab opener had an indifferent start where he failed to fire against Delhi Capitals and KKR but struck a fluent 71 in the reverse fixture against Mumbai at Mohali.

In the last two matches however, the Rahul of 2018 has started to make an appearance with the right-hander registering back-to-back fifties. With three half-centuries now in his five appearances, the 26-year-old is starting to click into gear and he will be determined to keep this form going with a spot in India’s World Cup squad still on the line.

CAPTAIN – KL Rahul

VICE CAPTAIN – Hardik Pandya

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