Faf du Plessis Player of the Match for his 95 not out ahead of Deepak Chahar (4 for 29) give third successive win Chennai Super Kings.

Faf du Plessis 95 and a half-century for fellow opener Ruturaj Gaikwad helped CSK post 220/3, KKR got their chase off to the worst possible start.

Kolkata Knight Riders 202 ( 19.1 overs )
Chennai Super Kings 3-220 ( 20.0 overs )
Chennai Super Kings win by 18 runs

Kolkata Knight Riders nearly pulled off a remarkable comeback to chase down 221 against Chennai Super Kings despite losing five wickets in the Powerplay. However, Pat Cummins – playing an absolute blinder – ran out of batting partners as KKR fell 18 runs short in the end. After fiery fifties from Andre Russell and Pat Cummins and a handy knock from the former captain, Dinesh Karthik nearly rescued the team from being 31/5 at one point, it was a question of what could have been for KKR.

When Andre Russell was bowled in the second ball of the 12th over by Sam Curran in KKR’s chase, which turned out to be a match-changing event, a question surfaced on cricket lovers’ minds, did CSK captain MS Dhoni plan it? Dhoni gave a remarkable answer when he was asked about it after CSK’s win.

Andre Russell was going all guns blazing when Sam Curran surprised everyone by bowling the Kolkata Knight Riders all-rounder around his legs with a fieldset for him to bowl wide outside the off-stump in the CSK vs KKR IPL 2021 match at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai

When Russell was bowled in the second ball of the 12th over in KKR’s chase on Wednesday, which turned out to be a match-changing event, a question surfaced on cricket lovers’ minds, did CSK captain MS Dhoni plan it? Was he the one who told Curran to bowl it on Russell’s pads to bluff him? Considering Dhoni’s vast experience and outstanding game-reading skills, the possibility could not have been ruled out.

No wonder, Dhoni was asked about the same after in the post-match presentation by Alan Wilkins after CSK had beaten KKR by 18 runs. And the CSK captain gave a remarkable answer.

“No… You know that’s the beauty of it, once you are successful, you can say yeah it was planned because we had bowled so many outsides off so one on the leg stump but no, it was not really planned,” Dhoni said when asked about Curran’s delivery to Russell.

The win, CSK’s third of the ongoing season in four matches, helped MS Dhoni’s men to six points and replace Royal Challengers Bangalore who has been unbeaten so far having won all their matches to collect six points. Right now, the top-three teams in the standings have six points each and are separated on the basis of net run-rate. Points Table

Deepak Chahar took his second four-wicket haul of the season as the KKR top order was blown out of the water.

Faf du Plessis, Player of the Match: This was the most fluent I’ve felt so far. Felt the previous game things started to get better. Tonight was another step. It’s about the rhythm of the flow of the hands. Few games before this and even tonight spinners were the best bowlers. Even Jadeja bowled well for us. The ball just grips a bit. We thought the seamers from the other side we can catch up. He’s a fantastic young talent (Gaikwad). Those first couple of balls you can feel on edge as a batter. Beautiful to see him trust the timing and the technique. For a small guy, he hits the ball a long way. Been very lucky playing under MS for a long time. He knows what he’s doing, a pleasure to play under him. There was dew tonight and then it was a proper batter’s game. That’s when he’s at his dangerous when he’s got nothing to lose (Russell).

MS Dhoni: Quite easy in a game like this. From the 16th over onwards the contest was between the fast bowler and the batsman. You can’t do too much. Can’t put a different field. It’s about you vs me. The side that has won is a side that has executed slightly better. But if they would’ve had more wickets, could’ve been different. Have seen enough in cricket, always like to be humble. There’s no good reason if you have scored, the opposition can’t score. My lines to the players were that we have got good runs on the board but let’s be humble. You don’t want to take too many early wickets. Big hitters coming in, 200 runs, there’s only one way they’ll play. Not much you can do. The only option was Jadeja. It was turning, was a bit dry. The batting has been really good. Rutu is somebody who has shown his class in the last IPL. You always need to assess where he is mental. Once when he was off guard, I just asked him how are you feeling today. When you put a question like that, you wait for the reactions, you see what’s in his eyes. There was enough in his reactions to suggest he wasn’t rattled. That’s what I’ve been doing all my life (applying psychology) but in a good way.

Deepak Chahar – I don’t know (what I am doing right). I am just trying to bowl straight balls and it is swinging. It was a good wicket to bowl on, the ball was swinging and seaming. I didn’t pick a lot of wickets last year and I realised later that when I’m bowling the first over I have the responsibility and if I get 1-2 wickets in the powerplay, the tone is set. The dew came in, the ball was coming on nicely, some good batting by Russell and we also bowled some bad balls, so it was a combination of everything. Even the cutters Sam was bowling were coming onto the bat. I was thinking we should not lose this match, they were batting really well and at one point needed 40 off 20 balls which is very gettable on this ground. It is always good to win matches like this in the group stage as you learn a lot of things.

Eoin Morgan: It’s (pulse) quite high at the moment. What a hell of a game of cricket. Certainly from the position we were in after our powerplay, we probably didn’t think we’d get as close as we did. But Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik really did put a partnership together, once you do that taking advantage of the conditions here, it’s very difficult to stop. A partnership going in that manner and then following that Pat Cummins the way he played really gave us every chance towards the end. Tremendous fight from our middle and lower order which is all you can ask for when you lose wickets upfront like that. The first five overs of our batting didn’t go our way. We didn’t play as well as would have liked. If we had built a partnership and taken advantage of those early overs going into those middle overs, we would have been in a really strong position. We can be happy with the way (we adapted to) new ground, different challenges. Going back to it now having watched our guys bat, I don’t think there was a great deal of margin of error. So we have to be a little bit kinder to our bowlers when we walk off. Having been hit for 220 and then nearly getting close, being five down very early, you have to be honest with the bowlers about execution. It does make a huge amount of difference but you really have to be on the money here. I tend to stay away from Andre after he’s got out. When he’s in the form like this, he’s as good a player as any in the tournament, particularly when he strikes the ball like that. It’s great that he’s been in this sort of form. it’s disappointing that the rest of us couldn’t help him out. He’ll obviously be disappointed.

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