Chennai Super Kings 235 for 4 (Rahane 71, Conway 56, Dube 50, Khejroliya 2-44) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 186 for 8 (Roy 61, Rinku 53, Theekshana 2-32, Deshpande 2-44) by 49 runs
CSK set the pace
Leading the six-hitting spree was Rahane, who smashed five of them in a 29-ball 71 to take Super Kings through the gears in the middle order, along with Dube.
Their 73-run opening stand in just 7.3 overs was another fine exhibition of timing, power, wrist work and plenty of muscle. KKR’s bowlers went with length into the pitch up front when they discovered there wasn’t much swing, but it backfired as Conway was superb at picking lengths and hitting them square on both sides.
Suyash’s strike offset by sustained aggression
The 100 was up in the 11th over and CSK seemed bullish. Conway eventually perished when he couldn’t quite get the elevation off Varun Chakravarthy, but Dube got into the act with two massive hits in the same over. The first of those was a 100-metre hit to deep midwicket when Varun attempted a carrom ball into the pitch. Then, when Varun went full, he was tonked down the ground, over the sight screen.
Rahane takes the attack to Umesh
In the very next over, the 14th, Rahane made it three sixes in a row for CSK when he played a stunning pick-up shot, using Umesh Yadav’s pace and letting his wrists take over. It was instinct-driven batting out of the top drawer, free of any shackles that might have been holding him back in previous seasons. He seemed to feed off this role clarity. He was an anchor no more; he was instead unlocking his destroyer avatar.
The over would fetch another six that would be hoisted over fine leg and one of the most gorgeous extra cover drives you could see – feet to the pitch, leaning into the stroke and lacing the ball through the off side.
That was the start of a fascinating passage as Rahane and Dube – another batter who seems empowered to play the game he has long threatened to – had fun and made the bowling attack look pedestrian. Rahane got to his fifty off 24 balls, Dube off 20. The last five overs went for 75 as KKR went into the break a deflated lot.
KKR stumble early
Narine saw his off stump cartwheel in the first over of the chase and N Jagadeesan was out to Ravindra Jadeja’s athleticism in the second. Venkatesh Iyer and Nitish Rana then swung hard and connected from time to time, before Moeen Ali and Jadeja struck in consecutive overs. Venkatesh was out lbw sweeping a full ball, Rana dragging a slog sweep to Gaikwad at deep midwicket.
Sri Lankan flavour to finish
Roy continued to hit out. After taking Maheesh Theekshana for two fours to begin the 15th though, he was out off the third ball to a full delivery that dipped and slid underneath his powerful swing. Even after all that magic, KKR’s win percentage was less than 1%.
Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo