Jadeja cheers Chennai

New Delhi, October 30

Ravindra Jadeja struck two sixers off the fifth and sixth balls of the final over, bowled by Kamlesh Nagarkoti, to take Chennai Super Kings to a thrilling win over Kolkata Knight Riders on Thursday night — giving his team something to smile about in an abjectly poor season.

This was CSK’s fifth win of the season and took their points tally to 10 with one match to play, but it was only a consolation victory as the team had been knocked out of the reckoning for a spot in the knockout stage due to a string of early defeats.

Jadeja’s flourish with the bat towards the end of the innings has been one of the rare bright spots for CSK this season, and on Thursday night the left-handed all-rounder smashed an unbeaten 31 off 11 deliveries in the win. Jadeja has aggregated 232 runs in 13 matches at an average of 46.40 and a strike rate of 171.85. However, most of those cameos have come in losing causes. Thursday’s knock, therefore, was a rarity. With 30 runs needed off the last 12 deliveries, Jadeja smashed 17 out of the 20 runs taken of Lockie Ferguson’s penultimate over. And when the match got stuck in the last over too, with seven needed off two deliveries, Jadeja smashed two big sixes to finish the game. This was Jadeja’s sixth cameo this IPL season, and he also has one half-century.

Playing freely

Coach Stephen Fleming said Jadeja is playing freely this season and that is allowing him to score. “He is free. At times, he has tried to play just too smart but he is now playing freely and seeing the ball and hitting it beautifully,” said Fleming.

CSK captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said: “This season he (Jadeja) has been fantastic. He has been the only one in our team who has scored in the death overs.”

Jadeja said: “I was hitting the ball well in the nets and kept thinking about that and I managed to do that in the match. …in the last 12 balls you don’t think much. Just see the ball and hit the ball.” — TNS, agencies

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