Chennai skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s decision to bat first against Kolkata backfired as the Super Kings lost a rain-hit clash by eight wickets at Eden Gardens on Saturday.
Eyebrows were raised when Dhoni elected to bat after light rain delayed the match by an hour, and Chennai barely got the ball off the square in the opening overs as they failed to hit a boundary in the powerplay.
A slick half-century from Subramaniam Badrinath on a slow pitch gave Chennai a glimmer of hope as they posted a lowly 114 for four, but the Knight Riders calmly proceeded to 61 for two before rain stopped play after ten overs of the chase – easily ahead of the Duckworth-Lewis par score.
Dhoni had said at the toss that his decision was based on the fact that no rain was forecast for the evening, but with the weatherman proven wrong the side batting second had a clear advantage.
Kolkata skipper Gautam Gambhir suggested that the new Eden Gardens strip used for the match would be a good batting wicket, but that seemed far from the truth as the ball failed to come onto the bat throughout the match.
Iqbal Abdulla took full advantage of that as he took a straightforward caught-and-bowled to get rid of Murali Vijay early in Chennai’s innings, while Yusuf Pathan claimed the wicket of Suresh Raina.
Chennai were 40 for two at the halfway stage and 66 for three after 14 overs, but a run-a-ball 30 from Albie Morkel and 54 from Badrinath – who was run out off the final ball of the innings – gave their bowlers something to work with.
It wasn’t nearly enough though as Jacques Kallis eased to 21 and Manoj Tiwary hit 15 to keep Kolkata ahead of the required rate.
The defeat ended Chennai’s four-match unbeaten run in the tournament, as Kolkata moved level on points with Mumbai Indians, although Mumbai have two games in hand over the Knight Riders. Cricket365