It looked all over for Chennai Super Kings when 30 runs were needed in the last 12 balls against Kolkata Knight Riders on October 29 in Dubai. In the crucial 19th over, New Zealand’s speed merchant Lockie Ferguson conceded just three runs in his first 3 balls. Now, 27 were required from 9 balls.
And, then came the next four balls like 4, 3 (no-ball), 6 (off a free-hit) and four. Even though 10 runs were required in the last over and single in the last ball and CSK may have feared another Super over but Ravindra Jadeja was in a different mood altogether. He smashed it for a six nonchalantly and KKR were defeated by 6 wickets.
Sir Jadeja’s jaadu
“I think it was one game in which the climax went in our favour. Lot of credit to the guys. This season he (Jadeja) has been fantastic. He has been the only one in our team who has scored in the death overs. He needed somebody else and that would have been good for us,” said skipper Dhoni after the match.
This was a dream match for Jadeja as he not only played a cameo of unbeaten 31 in just 11 balls which had three massive sixes, he also had bowled very economically (3 overs and just 20 runs) and claimed a wicket.
“We (me and Curran) were talking about going after the bowlers, and in the last 12 balls you don't think much. Just see the ball and hit the ball,” said Jadeja who, too, perhaps deserved the Man of the Match award.
Ruturaj-Rayudu made it look so easy
However, a chase of 173 wasn’t as tricky as it appeared in the death overs because of the start CSK got from its openers. 50 runs came in the 8th over by the time veteran Shane Watson departed. Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ambati Rayudu added 68 runs in just 36 balls for the second wicket partnership which set –up the chase.
Young Ruturaj Gaikwad was confidence personified the way he treated a season campaigner like Australian pacer Pat Cummins with utter disdain. Even though he got out to Cummins in the end but by the time he had already played his best innings of the IPL 2020. His 72 off just 53 balls had 6 fours and 2 sixes as well.
“It is feeling good. Pretty confident as well. I have backed myself,” said a smiling Gaikwad to the host broadcaster in a post match chat after getting his Man of the Match award. “Ruturaj has shown the talent that he is. He came in and got positive with COVID. We didn’t have much time to have a look at him. He is one of the talented youngsters going around,” said Dhoni explaining almost apologetically since he had dismissed the youngster without any sparkle just a few days back.
KKR’s tactical blunder and day of excuses
For Kolkata Nitish Rana’s 87 runs went in vain and some of the batting order decisions by captain Eoin Morgan surprised observers like promoting Sunil Narine and young Rinku Singh ahead of himself. Yet, the captain chose to blame the usual suspect in these conditions, the dew factor.
“I think we played really well there, just on the wrong side of the toss. The dew from about the 8th over was really challenging,” said Morgan after the loss which has almost evaporated their hopes of making it to the play-offs.
(Vimal Kumar is a senior sports journalist who has covered multiple cricket world cups and Rio Olympics in the last two decades. Vimal is also the author of Sachin: Cricketer Of The Century and The Cricket Fanatic’s Essential Guide.)