Abu Dhabi: Rahul Tripathi celebrated his promotion to the top by striking a 51-ball 81 as Kolkata Knight Riders returned to winning ways with a 10-run victory over Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League on Wednesday.
Tripathi stood tall on the way to his fifth IPL fifty before KKR faltered in the back end of the innings and were bowled out for 167.
In reply, CSK were stopped at 157 for five. Having restored his confidence with a whirlwind 83 not out against Kings XI Punjab, veteran CSK opener Shane Watson picked up from where he had left to slam a 40-ball 50, his 21st in the lucrative league.
Watson feasted on the short-ball strategy of KKR bowlers in a 69-run partnership with Ambati Rayudu (30 from 27 balls).
Needing 78 runs in the last 10 overs, the CSK duo departed after adding just two runs, while Mahendra Singh Dhoni, coming out to bat at No 4, got out for 11.
Sam Curran hit 17 from 11 balls, but that was not enough as CSK fell short. The win catapulted KKR to the third place in the table with three wins from five matches, while CSK remained at five with four points from six games.
Earlier, CSK staged a remarkable comeback as KKR lost three wickets in the last over with 'birthday boy' Dwayne Bravo removing two of them for an impressive 3/37.
Tripathi raced to his fifty in 31 balls to give KKR a solid foundation after Dinesh Karthik opted to bat.
At 93 for two at the midway stage, KKR looked set for a big score but Bravo struck after that.
Leg-spinner Karn Sharma (2/25), Shardul Thakur (2/28), Sam Curran (2/26) claimed two wickets each as the MS Dhoni-led side bounced back in the last 10 overs by taking eight wickets while giving away just 74 runs. Dhoni picked up four catches, the last one being his best effort.
On a Sheikh Zayed Stadium pitch that seemed to slow down, Tripathi played a risk-free knock and maintained a healthy run-rate.
Karthik made a baffling decision to send Sunil Narine ahead of their best batsman, Eoin Morgan, at No 4. However, Narine did his job with a nine-ball 17 before being dismissed by an excellent combined effort by a diving Ravindra Jadeja and Faf du Plessis.
Morgan started with a classical cover drive boundary but Curran cut his stay short with a bouncer that climbed in and took a faint edge.
Thakur, who had given the first breakthrough by dismissing an in-form Shubman Gill (11), claimed the big wicket of Andre Russell with a cross-seam short delivery as the KKR dazzler struggled to get going.
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
The 40-year-old former India captain, playing his 10th IPL final (ninth for CSK as captain), has led the 'Yellow Brigade' in 214 games across 12 editions that they have taken part out of the 14 IPL seasons.
Check out some of the best photos from the Chennai Super Kings' fourth IPL title win after a 27-run win over the Kolkata Knight Riders in the final of IPL 2021.
The winner of Qualifier 2 will take on Chennai Super Kings in the title clash on 15 October.