West Indian's blistering half century not enough to prevent Chennai's top-order from claiming victory
IPL 2018: Andre Russell brilliance in vain as Chennai Super Kings chase down Kolkata Knight Riders
Teamwork trumped individual brilliance in the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Tuesday as Chennai Super Kings defeated Kolkata Knight Riders to maintain their perfect start to the 2018 season.
Andre Russell hit a blistering half-century as Kolkata set Chennai 203 for victory, but the total proved within reach for the hosts as all top-five batsmen contributed in chasing down the score.
Batting at No 7, West Indies international Russell hit 11 sixes for an unbeaten 88 from just 36 balls. It was the most sixes in any T20 match for a batsman who did not go on to score a century.
Prior to Russell’s entrance, the Kolkata innings did not appear to pose much danger. West Indian batsman Sunil Narine (12) burned brightly and quickly, hitting two sixes but lasting just four deliveries. Opening partner Chris Lynn followed in the sixth over after a 22-run knock from 16 balls.
Robin Uthappa looked well set on 29 before he was run-out, and Rinku Singh (2) quickly came and went. Enter Russell, who was well supported by Dinesh Karthik (26), who nudged along at just over a run a ball before getting out lbw to Watson.
However, Chennai quickly set about chasing down the Kolkata total. Opening batsmen, Shane Watson (42 off 19 balls) and Ambati Rayudu (39 from 26), tried to follow Russell’s lead by combining for 75 runs inside six overs.
After Watson was dismissed by Tom Curran and Rayudu was removed by Kuldeep Yadav, Chennai maintained their aggression. Suresh Raina hit 14 runs from 12 deliveries before falling to Narine, but his departure allowed for the arrival of Sam Billings, who combined with MS Dhoni to steer Chennai to the brink of victory.
England international Billings hit five sixes and a pair of fours en route to a 23-ball 56. He was supported by a steady knock from 25-run knock from Dhoni.
Despite both batsmen getting dismissed late in the innings, Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja (both 11) came together to guide Chennai home with one ball remaining.
A second successive victory moves Chennai to the top of the IPL standings for at least two days, with Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Daredevils, both of whom lost their opening fixtures, set to square off today.