The Chennai Super Kings (CSK) needed 27 off 9 balls against an experienced Lockie Ferguson. One of Ravindra Jadeja and Ferguson was going to crack under pressure. As it happened, the next four balls were a nightmare for Ferguson and the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), as he lost his length several times to reduce the equation to just 10 off the final over, which Jadeja polished off.
KKR made significant amends with the bat, following a different and less nerve-wracking pattern to setting a total. A rare fifty-run opening stand was ended when Shubman Gill misjudged one against leg-spinner Karn Sharma. His fellow opener Nitish Rana, though, went on to score big, as his 87 anchored the KKR innings. Cameos from Dinesh Karthik and Eoin Morgan ensured KKR finished reasonably well.
In reply, CSK too looked unfettered early on, with the opening and second wicket partnership doing well at keeping the chase under control. It was once Ambati Rayudu departed looking for one too many big hits that KKR clawed back into the contest. Ruturaj Gaikwad was dismissed after a fine 72, and MS Dhoni was knocked over by Varun Chakravarthy to send tremors in the CSK dugout. However, Jadeja calmed the nerves with some fine striking in his 31 off 11.
In a crucial game for KKR, a loss has meant their fate for the IPL 2020 playoffs is out of their hands. In a game between two inconsistent teams, there were bound to be disappointments for both sides - here are the top three underperformers.
#3 Shane Watson (CSK)
In a bid to rest one of their flag-bearers for the season in a barely consequential match for them, CSK brought back the struggling Shane Watson for Faf du Plessis. While Watson ensured KKR were denied an early wicket, he did little to ease the pressure in a competitive chase with his 14 off 19.
Averaging under 30, Watson has not quite been worth the investment from CSK. In the field, he has been poor this season as the batsmen are able to target him and convert ones into twos. The IPL may have seen the last of Shane Watson in this match, as he is unlikely to be retained or roped in next year.
#2 MS Dhoni (CSK)
A combination of factors - an unthreatening required run rate, calls through the season to come up the order, and a game situation which was good for playing a steady knock with the finishers to come - prompted MS Dhoni to walk in at two-down for CSK. As it happened, the CSK skipper was unable to make much of the situation, losing his stumps to KKR's Chakravarthy the second time this season for just 1 off 3.
Beyond his travails with the bat, Dhoni's captaincy during the powerplay, regarding his field settings and his choice of bowling changes too drew sharp criticism, as he allowed a struggling Rana to get into the groove against spin. Another match of woes for him personally would be soothed by a CSK win as they go down fighting this season.
#1 Lockie Ferguson (KKR)
When Lockie Ferguson was brought into the KKR side against SRH, he took five wickets, including two in the Super Over to convince a struggling side that express pace is what they needed. They credited the template to the erstwhile IPL 2020 points table toppers Delhi Capitals, who have incidentally slipped to three straight losses.
While Ferguson managed a wicket each in the next few outings, his economy rate started to decline. In this game, he exhibited a throwback to the kind of form that made KKR the worst bowling side in the 2019 IPL, providing easy pickings to the batsmen. Trusted to bowl the all-important 19th over, Ferguson's over completely shifted the match's complexion and turned a potential win into another loss for KKR, as they hang on for dear life in the tournament.Published 30 Oct 2020, 09:19 IST