Faf sows, Chahar reaps

Mumbai, April 21

Chennai Super Kings rose to joint lead in the IPL points table with an utterly dominant performance against Kolkata Knight Riders here tonight, winning by a margin of 18 runs. CSK’s third win in four matches put them on top of the table with six points, the same as Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Faf du Plessis was CSK’s star with the bat tonight as he blasted an unbeaten 95 off 60 balls, adding 115 off only 12.2 overs with fellow opener Ruturaj Gaikwad (64 off 42 balls) and 50 off 26 balls with Moeen Ali (25 off 12) to power the team to 220/3.

KKR’s chase had a disastrous start as they were reduced to 31/5 in 5.2 overs as Deepak Chahar, opening the bowling, took the first four wickets to finish with 4/29 off his four overs. Dinesh Karthik (40 off 24) and Andre Russell (54 off 22) then rallied KKR with a counterattacking partnership of 81 in only six overs. However, after the two were dismissed, at 146/7 in 15 overs, KKR’s challenge was fizzling out. Pat Cummins provided a faint hope to KKR when he got 30 off the 16th over, from Sam Curran, with four sixers and one four. This heist off Curran meant that in the final over, KKR needed 20 runs but they were running out of wickets, and this proved to be beyond even the big-hitting Cummins, who was unbeaten on 66 off 33 balls.

Du Plessis masterclass

For CSK, operner Gaikwad returned to form after a string of poor outings with a composed 42-ball 64 that set it up for his team. Gaikwad was the early aggressor, smashing four sixes and four boundaries, while du Plessis gave the youngster the backup as the duo produced CSK’s best start of the season. Du Plessis came into his own after Gaikwad’s departure in the 13th over, adding 50 runs with Moeen Ali. CSK scored 76 runs in the final five overs with the South African at his attacking best during that duration. — TNS, agencies

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