By Debayan Mukherjee
Kolkata, April 14 (IANS) Imran Tahir and Suresh Raina helped Chennai Super Kings (CSK) put one foot in the playoffs as they got past Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) by five wickets in their Indian Premier League (IPL) return leg fixture at the Eden Gardens here on Sunday.
CSK, who had defeated KKR in their first meeting also, consolidated their spot at the top of the table with 14 points from eight matches.
KKR, on the other hand, slumped to their third straight defeat, remaining on eight points from eight matches.
Tahir (4/27) first played a pivotal role in restricting KKR to 161/8.
Chasing a modest 162 for victory, Raina struck an unbeaten 58 off 42 balls (7×4; 1×6), his 36th IPL fifty, adding 41 runs with Ravindra Jadeja (31 off 17 balls not out; 4×5) for the sixth wicket.
CSK needed 24 in the last two overs, but Jadeja hit Harry Gurney for a hattrick of fours in the 19th over to bring the equation down to eight runs off six balls.
The India all-rounder then creamed Piyush Chawla for a boundary to hit the winning runs as the defending champions won with two balls to spare.
CSK lost Shane Watson (6) early with Gurney trapping him in front of the wicket. Faf Du Plessis (24) was castled by Sunil Narine (2/19), who bowled a wicket maiden in the sixth over.
Ambati Rayudu (5) failed to impress the selectors on the eve of World Cup selection while Kedar Jadhav (20) also got out to leave CSK on 81/4.
Dhoni and Raina combined for a 40-run fifth wicket stand before the former was trapped by Narine, with reviews not going in the former India skipper’s favour.
Earlier, recording his best figures (4/27) in the competition, Tahir bowled a game-changing 15th over to account for Chris Lynn (82; 51 balls; 7×4 6×6) and Andre Russell (10) to dent the KKR’s surge as they could only manage 161/8.
Tahir was introduced in the ninth over with Lynn going great guns. The South Africa leg-spinner gave away just four runs in his first over to then wreak havoc.
The 40-year-old removed Nitish Rana (21) and Robin Uthappa (0) in the 11th over to start KKR’s slide and then did the major damage in the 15th over by removing Lynn and Russell in the space of four balls.
Lynn was caught at deep square leg by Shardul Thakur while substitute Dhruv Shorey took an excellent catch at long on.
In the last five overs, the hosts could muster only 28 runs with only one four at the cost of three wickets. Shardul (2/18), who along with Tahir was the other architect of Chennai’s choke, removed Shubman Gill (15) and Piyush Chawla (0) in the final over.
Brief scores: Kolkata Knight Riders 161/8 in 20 overs (Chris Lynn 82; Imran Tahir 4/27) vs Chennai Super Kings 162/5 in 19.4 overs (Suresh Raina 58 not out, Ravindra Jadeja 31 not out; Sunil Narine 2/19)
(Debayan Mukherjee can be contacted at [email protected])