Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have started their 2018 IPL season in style winning their first two matches and giving their legions of fans something to cheer about. CSK, the most popular IPL franchise played their first match at home at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Monday after a break of two years and a sea of yellow flooded the stadium to support CSK against the Kolkatta Knight Riders.
KKR Set CSK 203 To Win
CSK won the toss and asked KKR to bat and had a good start dismissing the dangerous opening pair of C Lynn (22) and S Narine (12) rather cheaply. CSK bowled pretty tight during the first 12 overs and took wickets at regular intervals to keep KKR on a tight leash.
West Indian all-rounder Andre Russell walked out to bat at number 7 and soon proved why he is one of the most sought after T20 players in the world. Russell changed the tempo of the match by dispatching bowlers to all parts of the ground and was especially severe on fellow West Indian D Bravo. Russell was unbeaten on 88 hitting 11 sixes and just 1 four at a strike rate of 244. His blitz helped take KKR to 202 and CSK was set a formidable total.
CSK Overseas Players Deliver
CSK had a decent start thanks to Shane Watson and A Raydu. Watson was in a belligerent mood and scored 42 of just 19 balls to give CSK a good start. However that start was squandered as S Raina and MS Dhoni failed to keep the tempo. Raina was dismissed for 14 and Dhoni was dismissed for 25.
Sam Billings came to the crease and played an innings that helped take CSK to the brink of victory. He scored 56 of just 23 balls at a strike rate of 243 which included 5 sixes and 2 fours. D Bravo and R Jadeja helped get CSK over the line by scoring the winning runs with one ball to spare to give CSK a 2-0 lead on the points able.
CSK will be happy with their two wins but will also be concerned as their domestic players haven’t really fired. The big cause for concern will be the batting form of MS Dhoni who continues to struggle in T20 cricket. The other concern will be in Dhoni’s decision making with regarding using his bowlers. He held back H Singh who sent down his two overs for just 11 runs and relied on other bowlers who went for plenty.