Ruturaj Gaikwad’s scintillating 53-ball 72 and by Ravindra Jadeja’s unbeaten 31 off 11 handed Chennai Super Kings (CSK) a six-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in a nail-biting finish in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 on Thursday. The win helped CSK take their points tally to 10, but the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led side remain at the bottom of the eight-team competition. KKR, despite the loss, hold the fifth spot with a slim chance of making to the playoffs. Chasing the 173-run target, CSK, who suffered a mini middle-order collapse, were 143/4 wickets at the end of the 18th over. However, Jadeja’s heroics ensured his side a morale boosting win. (IPL 2020 | IPL SCHEDULE | IPL POINTS TABLE)
As always, both sides were left with a lot to ponder upon after the match was complete. Here are the major talking points from the IPL 2020 encounter between CSK and KKR. (IPL 2020 ORANGE CAP | IPL 2020 PURPLE CAP)
Gaikwad Shows Enough Spark to Impress MSD
MS Dhoni’s comments about CSK’s youngsters not showing enough ‘spark’ to displace the veterans from the starting XI seems funny in hindsight given how well Ruturaj Gaikwad has done since then. His 72 off 53 balls was pivotal to CSK chasing what was a stiff target against KKR.
It was also his second straight half-century in the tournament and the 23-year old was praised by Dhoni after the match. CSK may be out of the play-off reckoning this year but his rise will be a high point of what was a year of lows for the side.
Jadeja Proves Class is Permanent
Ravindra Jadeja is one of many senior CSK players who has had an indifferent IPL, even though he has shown flashes of class with the bat. His ability was on full display against KKR as he got the side home with some excellent hitting, even sending a botched shot to his critics in the process.
The chase could have gotten tricky as the asking rate going into the final five overs was over 10 but Jadeja showed plenty of composure to take the chase deep and then get the winning runs off the final ball. CSK need more such performances from him in the next season.
Rana’s Rich Vein of Form Carries On
Nitish Rana has been one of KKR’s better batsmen this season and he was at it for the side yet again against CSK. Opening the innings alongside Shubman Gill, he started slow but more than made up for it later, even smashing Karn Sharma for three straight sixes at one point.
Rana has been a quietly consistent performer in domestic and IPL cricket and his recent form bodes well for KKR both in the short and long term. KKR’s batting has thrown up more questions than answers this season but Rana has been a more or less stable presence in the line-up.
KKR Pay for Stacking Batsmen in Line-up
KKR made one change to their playing XI, dropping Prasidh Krishna for Rinku Singh. The extra batsman was supposed to, in theory, free up the batsmen to take extra risks if needed. However, it only ended up hurting the bowling options.
Morgan didn’t have an extra bowler to turn to when things weren’t going well for the side. He turned to Rana’s part-time off-spin for one over and he was taken apart by Ambati Rayudu. Striking this balance remains a key puzzle to solve for the side.