Chennai Super Kings’ Ajinkya Rahane plays a shot during the Indian Premier League Twenty20 cricket match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Chennai Super Kings at the Eden Gardens Stadium in Kolkata on April 23, 2023. (Photo: Getty Images)
An electric 71 not out off just 29 balls by Ajinkya Rahane helped Chennai Super Kings rack up this season’s highest total of 234-5 as they blew away Kolkata Knight Riders and moved top of the IPL table on Sunday (23).
Despite a blistering 61 off 26 by Jason Roy and a valiant half-century by Rinku Singh, Kolkata fell 49 runs short in front of 60,000 fans at a noisy Eden Gardens stadium to suffer their fourth straight defeat.
Put in to bat, opener Devon Conway hit his fourth consecutive half-century before Rahane and Shivam Dube launched into the Kolkata attack with a barrage of 10 sixes and eight fours to put on 85 off just 32 balls.
Once Kulwant Khejroliya dismissed Dube in the 18th over Rahane moved up a gear, smashing 21 runs off the final five balls he faced to give Chennai their third-highest total in IPL history.
“I came into the season with a clear mind and trying to enjoy my batting,” Rahane said. “Playing with (Chennai captain) MS Dhoni, he makes you feel that you can achieve anything.”
Kolkata got off to a disastrous start, with Sunil Narine falling for a duck to Akash Singh and Narayan Jagadeesan back in the hutch for one to leave the hosts flailing on 1-2.
Venkatesh Iyer struck a useful 20 before falling leg-before to Moeen Ali and Nitish Rana made 27 as Roy raced to his 50 accompanied by the dangerous Rinku.
But the English bruiser was out-foxed by Maheesh Theekshana and Rinku – who made 53 not out – lost partners, with Andre Russell, David Wiese, Umesh Yadav and Varun Chakravarthy all out cheaply.
Theekshana ended with 2 for 32 and Tushar Deshpande figures of 2 for 43.
Maxwell’s silver hammering
In the first game of the day, Faf du Plessis and Glenn Maxwell smashed another big partnership and Harshal Patel held his nerve as Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Rajasthan Royals by seven runs.
Trent Boult trapped Virat Kohli leg-before first ball for his 100th wicket and the Kiwi quick had Bangalore reeling on 12-2 with the scalp of Shahbaz Ahmed at Bangalore’s M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
But Du Plessis – the top-scorer of the current Indian Premier League edition – and Maxwell soon got Bangalore out of trouble and ended up hammering 127 runs off only 66 balls.
Du Plessis belted eight fours and two sixes before being run out for 62 off 39 deliveries. Maxwell switch-hit Ravichandran Ashwin straight to Jason Holder at backward point for 77 off 44 balls.
Dinesh Karthik again failed to ignite at the death, making just 16 off 13 and Bangalore ended with a total of 189-9 that gave Rajasthan a glimmer of hope.
But the pink brigade’s Jos Buttler was the second star batter of the game to depart for a duck, cleaned up by a jubilant Mohammed Siraj on the England captain’s second ball.
Yashasvi Jaiswal and Devdutt Padikkal then added 98 runs for the second wicket but they fell in the space of 12 deliveries.
Sanju Samson managed only 22, while Shimron Hetmyer was run out for three. Dhruv Jurel smacked 34 not out off 16 balls, while Ashwin threw his bat around to bring the game down to the last over.
But despite scoring 10 off three balls, Ashwin was caught for 12 going for a big heave to give Harshal his third wicket of the game and Bangalore a seven-run victory.
“It is about momentum at this ground,” said losing skipper Samson.
“Normally, Hetmyer does it for us, but he had an off game. We have now lost two games in a row. It is time to pull up our socks and come back stronger.”