Chennai beat Kolkata by two wickets in match number 38 of the Indian T20 League 2021 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Sunday. Eoin Morgan won the toss and asked Chennai to bowl first. With the help of Rahul Tripathi (45), Nitish Rana (37) and Karthik (26), Kolkata posted 171 runs, which Chennai chased down on the last ball of their innings. From Shubman Gill’s run-out to Ravindra Jadeja’s match-winning knock, let’s take a look at all the talking points from the game.
Shubman Gill’s run-out
After saving his wicket with the help of the DRS, Shubman Gill was run-out on the very next ball due to miscommunication with Venkatesh Iyer. Ambati Rayudu threw a direct hit from short mid-wicket to send back Gill, who hit two fours in his five-ball stay and looked good for another impressive knock. The opener’s unfortunate wicket was the first big upset for Kolkata.
Kolkata impressive in the powerplay again
Team Kolkata has been impressive in the powerplay overs in all the three matches played in the UAE leg. Against Chennai, they got to 50/1 in five overs, before Shardul Thakur sent back the man of the moment – Venkatesh Iyer. From there on, only 43 runs and two wickets came in the next eight overs. After Gill departed on nine runs, Iyer was sent back on 18. But a cameo from Rahul Tripathi – 45 runs off 33 balls – ensured that Kolkata made the most of the powerplay overs. Tripathi carried on from where he left in the previous game against Mumbai, scoring an unbeaten 74. Later, Nitish Rana also chipped in with a 27-ball 37.
Andre Russell’s missed opportunity
One of the best T20 players in the world, Andre Russell did not get a chance to bat in the first two games of the UAE leg as the top-order batters did most of the work. Against Chennai, Russell came out to bat with six overs left and the stage set for him. The swashbuckling batter hit two fours and a six but was removed by Thakur in the 16th over when he was on 20 off 15. To add to the misery, he seems to have sustained an injury while fielding, but there is no confirmation of the same by the Kolkata management.
Dinesh Karthik’s cameo
After Russell’s departure, the former Kolkata captain scored 26 off 11 balls at a strike rate of 236.36 which helped the team get to a competitive 171 runs. The wicketkeeper batter hit three fours and one six before being removed by Josh Hazlewood in the last over.
Three in three for Shardul Thakur
Thakur has been the best bowler for Chennai in the last couple of games, and he resumed from where he left off in the previous game against Bangalore. The pacer had dismissed Ab de Villiers and Devdutt Padikkal on the fifth and sixth ball of his last over two days back and removed the in-form Venkatesh Iyer on his very first ball in the game against Kolkata. Thakur removed three batters in three consecutive balls, but in two different games, thus missing out on a hat-trick. Later in the game, Thakur also sent back Russell, which snatched the momentum away from Kolkata.
Excellent start by Team Chennai
Chennai’s in-form openers Faf du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad shared 74 runs between them, which laid the foundation for the win. Du Plessis scored a 30-ball 43, while Gaikwad hit 40 off 28. The two openers now have more than 500 runs between them in the Indian T20 League 2021. Gaikwad, especially, has been prolific since the resumption of the tournament in UAE, having scores of 88*, 38 and 40.
The middle order crumbles
After the onslaught by the openers, Moeen Ali added another 32 runs. But Ambati Rayudu (10), Suresh Raina (11) and MS Dhoni (1) were dismissed in quick succession. All the three batters, especially Raina and Dhoni, have not been able to get many runs in the first three games of the UAE leg, something that the Chennai management will be worried about.
The game-changing 19th over
Chennai needed 26 off the last two overs with Ravindra Jadeja and Sam Curran in the middle. Jadeja hit two sixes and as many fours off Prasidh Krishna in the 19th over, which changed the course of the game completely. Chennai now needed only four runs from the last over bowled by Sunil Narine. While it looked like an easy job, the match went down to the last ball.
The dramatic final over
Chennai needed four in six balls to win the game, but Narine sent back Curran on the very first ball off the last over, and Thakur came in to bat. The second ball was a dot, while the third one conceded three runs after Chakravarthy saved a boundary. The fourth ball was again a dot, while the fifth one sent back Jadeja. Chennai now needed one run from the last ball with Deepak Chahar on strike. Chahar, who is no mug with the bat, sent the ball towards midwicket and successfully completed one run. This was the seventh time Chennai won a run chase off the last ball of the innings – the most by a team in the Indian T20 League. For Kolkata, this was the sixth time they lost off the final ball defending a target, which is the most by any team.
MS Dhoni’s new record with the gloves
While the Chennai captain has been out of form with the bat for a long time now, his wicketkeeping still remains flawless. In the game against Kolkata, Dhoni’s catch helped send back Iyer and Karthik, and with those two catch dismissals, the former India captain surpassed Kolkata wicketkeeper Karthik to have the most catch dismissals in the Indian T20 League. Karthik has 115 catch dismissals, while Dhoni now has 116.
Chennai are ‘almost’ into the playoffs
After winning against Kolkata, Chennai are back at the top of the points table with 16 points, replacing Team Delhi. They are now more or less confirmed to play the knockouts, while Kolkata remain fourth on the rankings with eight points.