After conceding what would be about par score in T20 matches in Hyderabad, KKR were pushed onto the backfoot right at the start of the chase when Ashish Nehra picked up two wickets in two balls – those of Gautam Gambhir and Manish Pandey - at the start of the third over. Thrown the ball for the fourth over, Mohit Sharma accounted for Yusuf Pathan with his first delivery, and Nehra returned to dismiss Manvinder Bisla in the following over.
Suryakumar Yadav (19) and ten Doeschate put the innings back on rails with a 30-run partnership. When Yadav was dismissed at the end of the ninth over, it appeared CSK would run away with the match.
However, Russell and ten Doeschate had other ideas. While ten Doeschate played smart cricket picking the gaps consistently (apart from picking up the odd boundary), Russell made good use of his muscle to take the attack to the CSK bowlers. The 26-year old Jamaican hit four boundaries and deposited five balls into the stands, and dominated the 80-run sixth wicket partnership.
Russell brought up his half-century in 22 balls and just when it looked like he would see the team past the finish line, he was at the receiving end of a perfect yorker from. He made 58 runs from 25 balls and departed the stage with his team needing 27 runs from 21 balls.
The experienced ten Doeschate (51*) ensured there was no panic in the rest of the run-chase and saw his team home. He brought up his half-century in grand style when he smashed Ravichandran Ashwin into the stands over long-on. Piyush Chawla completed formalities for KKR when he smashed the final delivery of the 19th over through extra cover to pick up a boundary.
CSK’s bowling performance was in stark contrast to that of KKR’s effort earlier in the evening. If runs were hard to come by against the KKR spinners, the five overs bowled by the CSK spinners cost them 54 runs. Ashish Nehra was the most successful of the CSK bowlers, returning with impressive figures of 4-21.
Earlier in the evening, riding on contributions from every batsman who got an opportunity to bat in the middle, the Chennai Super Kings posted 157-4 on the board. Dwayne Smith (20), took charge early on, and in the company of Brendon McCullum (22) helped the team to a flying start; the openers added 37 in four overs before the former edged one from leg-spinner Piyush Chawla into the gloves of wicket-keeper Manvinder Bisla.
McCullum perished next when he attempted to reverse sweep Yusuf Pathan, but didn’t make contact and was adjudged leg before. Suresh Raina and Faf du Plessis batted through the middle overs, adding 35 runs in five overs. Both batsmen struggled to find the boundary but kept the scoreboard ticking with ones and twos before being dismissed in the space of six deliveries.
Dwayne Bravo was quick off the blocks picking up two boundaries early on. But he struggled to pick compatriot Sunil Narine and failed to score off the nine deliveries he faced from the mystery spinner in the 16th and 18th overs. It was left to MS Dhoni to finish the innings on a high and he did not disappoint; the CSK skipper, who had scored 14 runs from 12 balls heading into the penultimate over, deposited a Pat Cummins delivery beyond the midwicket fence and pulled Umesh Yadav’s first ball of the final over to the square leg boundary. He signed off in style, bringing out his trademark helicopter shot, and deposited the final ball of the innings into the third tier beyond the ropes at long on. The fifth wicket partnership between Dhoni and Bravo was worth 71 runs; Dhoni remained unbeaten on 35 (20 balls), while Bravo scored 28 runs from as many deliveries.
The KKR spinners returned with combined figures of 4 for 51 from 11 overs, while the three quicks went for 104 runs in 9 overs. Narine’s performance – that gave him figures of 4-0-9-1 – was the best of the night by a long way.
Kolkata Knight Riders win by 3 wickets
Brief Scores: Chennai Super Kings 157-4 in 20.0 Overs (Suresh Raina 28, MS Dhoni 35*, Dwayne Bravo 28, Piyush Chawla 2-26) lost to Kolkata Knight Riders 159-7 in 19.0 Overs (Ryan ten Doeschate 51*, Andre Russell 58, Ashish Nehra 4-21)
Gambhir: "After the first 15 overs we thought we could have restricted them to even less. We always knew it was a case of one or two partnerships coming together. We have a lot of depth in our batting and lot of firepower too, we are always comfortable chasing and we are unique in that we flourish in those situations. Andre Russell and Ryan ten Doeschate deserve a lot of credit but I also must mention Sunil Narine for another special performance with the ball."
Dhoni: "I don't think we had enough runs on the board to start off, their spinners did very well in the middle overs. We got a good start but the difference between the two sides was Andre Russell and how he took off with the bat, I think we were 15-20 overs short."
Man of the Match: Andre Russell, for his 25-ball 58.