Kolkata, Apr 23 (PTI) A transformed Ajinkya Rahane took Eden Gardens by storm with a sensational 29-ball-71 while Shivam Dube muscled his way to another scintillating half-century in Chennai Super Kings’ imposing 235/4 against Kolkata Knight Riders in an IPL match, here on Sunday.
Long perceived as a Test batter, the 34-year-old dished out some never-seen scoop shots, ruthless pulls laced with his signature drives, en route to his second fifty of the season.
Overall, he smashed sixes fours and five sixes in his 29-ball knock that came with a 244-plus strike rate. His fifty came of just 24 balls. His tournament strike-rate among specialist batters, who have faced a minimum of 100 balls, is just a shade below 190.
In all, CSK batters hit 18 sixes, exposing the plight of KKR bowlers in-front of a crowd, which for them was like playing at “home away from home”.
On a day, the Eden immersed in a sea of yellow, KKR bowlers ran for covers with Kiwi opener Devon Conway once again leading the charge with a 40-ball-56, his fourth half-century of the season.
Conway once again found a fine ally in Ruturaj Gaikwad (35; 20b) as the duo put together 73-run (45b) for the opening wicket, before Rahane unleashed his fury in his new avatar.
There was a brief solace for KKR when the spin duo of Suyash Sharma and Varun Chakravarthy dismissed Conway and Gaikwad respectively in the space of 37 runs.
With CSK run-rate going under-nine an over, Shivam Dube (50; 21b, 2×4, 5×6) and Rahane seized the momentum with a 85-run partnership (32b).
The duo hit four sixes, and a boundary in a row to step up the run rate.
It was Dube who broke free against Varun Chakravarthy en route to his 20-ball fifty, his second too this season.
Rahane then took his India teammate Yadav to cleaners with two sixes, including a scoop, following it up with an elegant cover drive.
KKR’s baffling team combination strategy in benching Shardul Thakur and handing debut to David Wiese proved to be an eyesore.
Kulwant Khejroliya, who had been brought in place of Thakur, took two wickets but leaked 44 runs in his two overs.
Sunil Narine was also a big let down for KKR and conceded 23 runs from his two overs without taking any wicket.
KKR had the grip on CSK’s innings following a tidy five-run opening over by Umesh Yadav.
Yet to open his account, Conway then got an easy reprieve when Wiese put down a return catch from his own bowling.
Thereafter, it was all about CSK who cut loose with the Kiwi opener going after Wiese, smashing him for a six and following it up with 14 runs in the next over.
His opening partner, Gaikwad too matched Conway in stroke-making as CSK cruised to 59 for no loss in the powerplay.
The duo once again put together a perfect platform in a 73-run opening stand (45b) for the likes of Rahane and Dube to finish with an elan.
Source: PTI News