Bangalore: Unheralded left-arm spinner Pawan Negi's bowled brilliantly for his maiden five-for as Chennai Super Kings restricted Kolkata Knight Riders to 180 for six with skipper Gautam Gambhir smashing a 51-ball-80 in the Oppo Champions League T20, on Saturday.
The diminutive 21-year-old Delhi boy, who is not even a regular in his state squad having played only two first-class games in three years, grabbed five for 22 in four overs as he put spanner in KKR's plans of getting a 200-plus score.
Being put into bat, KKR skipper Gambhir led from the front as he added 91 for the opening stand with Robin Uthappa (39). Gambhir's innings had seven fours and three sixes.
Towards the end, it was young Manish Pandey, who played a cameo scoring 32 off only 19 balls and Yusuf Pathan (20 off 9 balls), who hit a few lusty blows to take IPL champions to the 180-run mark.
With Chinnaswamy strip offering significant turn and bounce, Negi did trouble the batsmen as he got the wickets of Uthappa and Jacques Kallis in his first spell and then got rid of Pandey, Ryan ten Doeschate (0) and Kuldeep Yadav (0) in a space of five deliveries in the penultimate over.
However credit should be given to CSK bowlers as they made a good comeback having gone for 89 runs in the first 10 wicketless overs. In the back-10, they conceded only 91 runs taking six wickets in the process.
The KKR openers broke free in the second over where bith Gambhir and Uthappa got boundaries off Mohit Sharma as 13 runs came in that over.
The 50 came in 5.4 overs as both Uthappa and Gambhir used their feet against the star spin twins Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. Uthappa infact elegantly lifted Ashwin over long-on while Gambhir also lofted Jadeja for the first of his three sixes as Dwayne Bravo tried an acrobatic catch.
Uthappa on the other end was looking good before Negi fooled him with a flighted delivery. The batsman gave him the charge but was beaten by the turn after pitching as Dhoni completed easiest of stumpings.
Gambhir completed a well-deserved 50 off 35 balls with a nice tap off his hips off Jadeja as Raina at short fine leg failing to spot the ball.