IPL 2018: Virender Sehwag Impressed by Andre Russell and Sam Billings's Knock at Chepauk

    Cricketnext Staff | Updated: April 11, 2018, 12:28 PM IST
    IPL 2018: Virender Sehwag Impressed by Andre Russell and Sam Billings's Knock at Chepauk

    Sam Billings (BCCI)

    New Delhi: Tuesday’s thrilling encounter between Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders at the Chepauk Stadium was not just a delight for the fans who had to wait for two years to witness the Yellow Brigade in action, but also former India opener and current Kings XI Punjab technical director Virender Sehwag enjoyed the exhilarating encounter at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.

    Taking to Twitter, Sehwag wrote: “What a welcome back to the IPL for Chennai. First Russell’s 11 sixes , then Billings ‘ brilliance and a Chennai victory. Romba Nalla ! #CSKvKKR.”

    75 required off 36 balls with Mahendra Singh Dhoni at the crease and batting in his den at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. This is not an uncommon sight for Chennai Super Kings fans as they have seen their hero Dhoni play one match-winning knock after the other ever since the inception of the Indian Premier League in 2008. But against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Chepauk on Tuesday, it was Sam Billings who stole the show with his calculated hitting as Chennai romped home by five wickets in a thriller.

    Showing great maturity, Billings converted the ones into twos and waited for the right balls to hit into the stands as he ensured that when he did get out, CSK needed just 19 off 9 balls and that was all they required as Ravindra Jadeja finished it off with a six as the Chepauk crowd went into a frenzy. Needing 17 off the last 6 balls, KKR pacer Vinay Kumar started horribly as he bowled a no-ball and the ball went for a six off Dwayne Bravo's bat. And that was not all as he then bowled a wide with Chennai needing 7 off 4 balls as that made it 6 off 4. After that, it was the Jadeja sign-off that had everyone in Chennai on their feet.

    For Kolkata though, it was snatching defeat from the jaws of victory as Andre Russell gave a brilliant display of power-hitting as his unbeaten 88 off just 36 balls with 11 sixes helped Kolkata notch up a winning 202/6 in their 20 overs. If Dhoni struggled to hit the over-drive button, Russell did it beautifully as Kolkata scored 79 runs off the last five overs to turn a challenging total into a match-winning one. While this Chepauk wicket doesn’t look like the dust bowls over the years, chasing down Kolkata’s total was still going to be a tough task.

    Yet, a mini-attack from Dhoni and Sam Billings meant that the hosts needed 51 from 24 balls with 7 wickets still in the bag as the players went into the strategic break. But Piyush Chawla dismissed Dhoni, caught behind by Dinesh Karthik for 25 off 28 balls at a time when the team needed 48 off 22 balls. This gave Kolkata renewed hope, but Billings had other ideas.

    But credit must also be given to the openers as Chennai started really well with Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu throwing the kitchen sink at the Kolkata bowlers. Watson and Rayudu took Piyush Chawla out for special treatment. While his first over cost KKR 14, his second one cost 17. But Kolkata finally pulled it back with Tom Curran sending back Watson for a 19-ball 42 as CSK ended the powerplay on 75/1 after 6 overs. That didn’t help as Rayudu (39 off 26) followed suit 3 overs later and Suresh Raina (14 off 12) failed to rise to the occasion as he has over the years.

    Earlier, it was a positive start once again for KKR after Dhoni won the toss and decided to put Kolkata in to bat.
    First Published: April 11, 2018, 12:26 PM IST

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