Unburdened by captaincy, Mahendra Singh Dhoni smashed his first IPL fifty in nearly three years but Kolkata Knight Riders dished out a clinical bowling show to restrict Chennai Super Kings to 131/5 in the tournament lung-opener here on Saturday.
CSK crossed the 130-run mark thanks to Dhoni’s unbeaten 50 off 38 balls (7x4; 1x6) and skipper Ravindra Jadeja’s 26 not out off 28 balls (1x6). Dhoni's last IPL fifty was 84 not out versus Royal Challengers Bangalore on Apr 21, 2019.
Put into bat, CSK opener Ruturaj Gaikwad (0) perished cheaply. after being caught by Nitish Rana in the slip cordon off pacer Umesh Yadav (2/20).
The typical Wankede track, which had a good amount of bounce, did aid the KKR bowlers and they took maximum advantage.
Devon Conway (3) and Robin Uthappa (28 off 21 balls) then tried to revive the CSK innings, but managed to add only 28 runs for the second wicket.
Conway, who was looking rusty, became Umesh Yadav’s second scalp.
Uthappa was brutal on Shivam Mavi, whom he hit for a boundary in the second over and followed it up by another boundary and a maximum in the fourth over. In between, he hammered Umesh for a six. But his stay was cut short, stumped by Shedlon Jackson off Varun Chakravarthy (1/23) in the eighth over as CSK found themselves in a spot of bother at 49/3.
They further slipped to 52/4, as a horrible mix-up between Ambati Rayadu (15 off 17 balls) and Jadeja led to the former’s dismissal. After 10 overs, CSK were tottering at 57/4. CSK lost half of their side for 61 after Shivam Dube (3) gave a sitter to Sunil Narine at short-midwicket off pacer Andre Russell.
Then, Jadeja and Dhoni added 70 runs for the sixth wicket to take CSK to a respectable total. The past and present captain duo initially played a barrage of dot balls but Dhoni hammered three boundaries in the 18th over, in which CSK amassed 14 runs.
Showing glimpses of his famous match-finishing prowess, Dhoni fetched a boundary and a six in the penultimate over, from which CSK got 15 runs.
The duo added 18 runs in the final over with Jadeja hitting a six off the final ball, as CSK added 74 runs in the final 10 overs.