IPL 2023: Nitish Rana, Rinku Singh steer KKR home, keep playoff hopes alive

The left-handers shared a 99-run stand to set up six-wicket win after Narine, Chakaravarthy restricted CSK to 144/6

Skipper Nitish Rana (57*) and Rinku Singh (54) struck responsible fifties to guide Kolkata Knight Riders to a six-wicket win against Chennai Super Kings in Chennai on Sunday, keeping alive their chances of making the playoffs in the Indian Premier League.

Spinners Varun Chakaravarthy and Sunil Narine combined to peg back CSK at regular intervals, preventing them from scoring in the middle overs before Nitish and Rinku stitched a 99-run partnership to set up KKR’s victory. Nitish and Andre Russell knocked off the winning runs with nine balls to spare.

KKR didn’t begin the chase very convincingly, their top-order batters finding ways to get out. Rahmanullah Gurbaz chased a wide half volley from Deepak Chahar to find Tushar Deshpande at deep point. Venkatesh Iyer — who had hit Chahar for two boundaries in four balls — was then cramped for a backfoot cut that went straight to Ravindra Jadeja at short third man.

That Chahar was bowling to a plan was clear when Jason Roy chased a wide slower ball that he dug out to Matheesha Pathirana at short third man to reduce KKR to 33/3. But Nitish and Rinku got together to calmly knock off the runs by trusting their off-side game.

Restricting CSK to their lowest score this IPL on a tacky pitch where the ball didn’t come through easily was job half done though. As long as openers Ruturaj Gaikwad and Devon Conway were batting, CSK were going at almost 10 per over. At his backyard, however, Chakaravarthy made his experience count by deceiving Gaikwad with a leg-break before luring Ajinkya Rahane into skipping down the track and miscuing a quicker arm ball to Roy at long-off.

“I’ve been working on my leg spin, good to see it went well,” said Chakaravarthy during the innings break.

CSK’s innings started to taper off after those two blows. Just one four and one six was hit from overs six to 15 as CSK trudged from 68/3 at the halfway mark to 92/5 after 15 overs. The bulk of the damage was inflicted by Narine who bowled his quota at one go after the Powerplay, conceding not even a single boundary while dismissing Ambati Rayudu and Moeen Ali, both bowled trying to play across the line.

That brought Jadeja to the crease, but apart from muscling Suyash Sharma over backward square leg, he was not able to time the ball properly. Shivam Dube was held back till No. 5 but he emerged the only batter to get some dividends for his patience.

He was 18 off 18 till the 15th over but two sixes off Sharma and Chakaravarthy allowed Dube to accelerate and help CSK finish with 52 runs in the last five overs — their most productive phase despite MS Dhoni not being able to hit a boundary in his three-ball stay. Five runs off the 19th and nine of the last over and KKR had almost paved the way for their batters to keep them in contention for the playoffs.

CSK stay second in the table with one game to play while KKR are seventh, though on 12 points like RCB (5th) and RR (6th).

Disclaimer: This Article is auto-generated from the HT news service