Chennai Super Kings (CSK) extended their lead at the top of the points table after edging out Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in their backyard in the afternoon fixture on Sunday. A telling cameo from Ravindra Jadeja helped CSK gun down Kolkata's par total at Eden Gardens.
In Hyderabad, on a wicket that changed drastically between innings, Delhi Capitals registered their fifth win to go to second in the points table. Having made just 155, Delhi used the slow ball to good effect to choke the hosts whose middle-order was once again exposed.
Here we bring to you the best moments from either match.
Jadeja's timely reminder
Ravindra Jadeja sent out a timely reminder of his batting capabilities on Sunday when he stepped on the gas after MS Dhoni's dismissal and took Chennai Super Kings over the line at Eden Gardens. The left-arm spinner had a forgettable day with the ball, conceding over 12 runs an over but turned up with the bat at an opportune time.
Jadeja walked in with CSK needing 41 in 4.2 overs. Dhoni had just been worked over by Sunil Narine and Kolkata were favourites to pull off a win given the required rate and lack of firepower after Jadeja in the batting line-up. But the southpaw was determined to not let this chance escape. He took 9 balls for his first nine runs and then changed gears in the penultimate over against Harry Gurney.
The left-hander hit three successive boundaries and took 16 runs off the England seamer in the over to bring the equation down to eight runs in one over. He then proceeded to hit a four off the first ball of the final over against Piyush Chawla and remained unbeaten on 31 in 17 balls as CSK romped home.
With the World Cup squad announcement on Monday, Jadeja's performance with the bat is a perfect reminder to the selectors that he can be a back-up all-rounder in the team.
When Kolkata played one shot too many against Tahir
With Chris Lynn batting like a dream and Nitish Rana finding his groove, Kolkata Knight Riders were well placed after 10 overs into the innings. They had put on 77 for the loss of just a single wicket when Imran Tahir, a partnership breaker in this format of the game and a strike bowler in the middle overs for MS Dhoni, came back into the attack.
Kolkata felt the need to score at a faster pace all of a sudden and off the second ball in the 11th over, Rana looked to hoist Tahir down the ground only to hole out to du Plessis at long-on. Robin Uthappa, who has been irresponsible this season, was dismissed two balls later as he played a reckless slog off Tahir to once again find du Plessis.
When the wrist spinner came back into the attack for a third over, Kolkata had still not learned their lesson. The settled Lynn went for a slog sweep and found deep square leg. Three balls later, Andre Russell, who had just hit Tahir for a four and six, went for another big hit but miscued to long-on to leave Kolkata in tatters.
Khaleel Ahmed turns up at Hyderabad
Khaleel Ahmed had been out of action owing to an injury in the first half of the season. Returning to the playing XI in the match against Delhi Capitals on Sunday, the left-arm seamer made an immediate impact with the ball. Khaleel grabbed a wicket in his very first over when he forced Prithvi Shaw onto the back foot and eked out an edge through to the keeper.
In his next over, Khaleel struck again as he dished out a good short ball at Shikhar Dhawan and had the Delhi opener out hooking. While Colin Munro spoilt his figures with two fours and as many sixes in two overs, Khaleel came back to dismiss Rishabh Pant in the death overs to finish with impressive figures of 3/30 in the match.
Left-arm orthodox Abhishek Sharma turns chinaman
Colin Munro, when he gets going, can be among the most dangerous of T20 batsmen. With three hundreds in T20Is, Munro's power hitting is feared in this format of the game and when he raced to 32 in 20 balls on a belter of a surface, Hyderabad feared the worst. Kane Williamson, in an unorthodox move, threw the ball to 18-year old left-arm orthodox spinner and all-rounder, Abhishek Sharma, who was formerly with Delhi Capitals.
Abhishek bowled his stock delivery turning away from the right-hander against Iyer but to the left-handed Munro, he tweaked his wrist position slightly to move the ball with the arm or turn it slightly away from the Kiwi batsman. While not a traditional chinaman's delivery, Abhishek's variation was enough to catch Munro off guard. The fearsome striker hit one of those leg breaks for a six down the ground but nicked off against a slower variation of the same delivery next ball.
Slower balls sink SRH
The Hyderabad surface had been great to bat on in the first innings but has slowed down notoriously in the latter half of the match. As a result, captains winning the toss have often been confused in their decision making. Kane Williamson was asked as much at the toss when he chose to bowl first on this surface.
"Do you know captains winning the toss here lose 80% of the matches? Are you superstitious?” Williamson was asked.
The Kiwi skipper, though, missed a trick by opting to bowl first on this wicket. Delhi made good use of it first up before choking the hosts with slower balls on a wicket that slowed up considerably.
Keemo Paul used his slower variations to dismiss three of the Sunrisers batsmen. Even David Warner found it tough to score at a good rate and was undone by Kagiso Rabada's slower variation after ambling along to 51 in 47 balls. Chris Morris then sealed Sunrisers’ chances by taking three wickets - Deepak Hooda, Rashid Khan and Abhishek Sharma - in a single over. Rabada finished with four wickets and Morris with three as Delhi beat Sunrisers comfortably.
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