Johannesburg - Opener Brendon McCullum starred with the
bat while Ravindra Jadeja did the business with the ball, as the Chennai Super
Kings romped to a comfortable 34-run victory in their rain-affected Indian
Premier League encounter with the Kolkata Knight Riders at the JCSA
International Cricket Stadium in Ranchi on Friday, the supersport.com website reports.
An expectant Ranchi crowd were made to wait
for the start of the 2014 competition's first game to be played on Indian soil,
as the heavens opened shortly after CSK skipper MS Dhoni won the toss and chose
A delay of more than 90 minutes saw the
game reduced to 17 overs a side, but McCullum smashed five boundaries and two
sixes in a vital knock of 56 from just 40 deliveries that propelled his side to
a competitive 148 for three.
The visitors struggled to keep pace in
reply, and left-arm spinner Jadeja decimated the middle order to finish with
incredible figures of four for 12 in his four overs.
Seamer Mohit Sharma (3-0-22-3) also chipped
in with three wickets, as Kolkata finished on a dismal 114 for nine.
Only Robin Uthappa (47) and Yusuf Pathan
(41) offered significant resistance, as the Knight Riders suffered a third
successive defeat to remain in fourth place in the standings.
For the high-flying Super Kings, the
emphatic triumph continued their momentum, and they now find themselves level
on points with the table-topping Kings XI Punjab having amassed five wins from
Earlier McCullum's revered partnership with
fellow opener Dwayne Smith (16) produced 20 quick-fire runs before the latter
was trapped plumb in front during the third over by Shakib Al Hasan, whose
figures of two for 25 in four overs were the pick of the KKR bowlers.
The loss of Smith breathed life into
McCullum though, and he led the way in a crucial 49-ball stand of 70 with
Suresh Raina, who made his way to 31 before holing out off Al Hasan midway
through the 11th over, leaving CSK well placed at 90 for two. Dhoni, who was
playing his first IPL game in his hometown of Ranchi, then strode to the crease
and was greeted by huge roars from the crowd.
McCullum later blasted his way to fifty
with a sensational pull shot for six off Jacques Kallis (1-0-10-0) in the 15th
over, and despite his dismissal shortly after, Dhoni and new-man Jadeja
sustained the necessary impetus to finish undefeated on 22 and 17 respectively,
and leave their side in a strong position.
The Kolkata reply was a poor one from the
start, as Gautam Gambhir's miserable run of form continued when he was run out
for six in the third over. Kallis (4) was next to go, as he top-edged a sweep
into the hands of the fielder on the deep square-leg boundary, and when Jadeja
produced a double strike in the sixth over, the Knight Riders were in disarray
at 38 for four.
Uthappa had stood tall amid the carnage,
and, after Suryakumar Yadav (8) became Jadeja's third victim, he eventually
found a modicum of support in Pathan.
But when Uthappa's reverse sweep off the
rampant Jadeja lobbed up off the gloves and into the hands of Dhoni, any faint
hopes of a Kolkata victory had vanished.
Pathan at least gave his teammates
something to smile about, as he belted Australian Ben Hilfenhaus (3-0-23-0) for
a trifecta of sixes in the penultimate over, but it was far too little, too
late, and he fell in the final over to put the cherry on top of a fifth
successive victory for Dhoni's team.
Chennai Super Kings: DR Smith, BB McCullum,
SK Raina, F du Plessis, MS Dhoni (captain, wciketkeeper), M Manhas, RA Jadeja,
R Ashwin, BW Hilfenhaus, IC Pandey, MM Sharma
Kolkata Knight Riders: G Gambhir (captain),
JH Kallis, MK Pandey, Shakib Al Hasan, RV Uthappa (wicketkeeper), YK Pathan, SA
Yadav, AD Russell, PP Chawla, R Vinay Kumar, SP Narine