Before the match Chennai Super Kings were at the second position in the leader board and Kolkata Knight Riders were at the 4th position. However, during the match that took place on May 2, 2014 at the JSCA International Stadium Complex in Ranchi it was evident that there was a chasm separating the two teams on the field. The winning margin may have been 34 runs, which is considerable in the context of a 20 over game, but the implications were far greater for the losing team.
Team composition: Chennai went in with the same team that has won them 4 games out of 5 in the UAE. Kolkata, looking for a victory, brought in Andre Russell for Morne Morkel and Yusuf Pathan for Manvinder Bisla.
Batting: CSK batted first after winning the toss and posted 148 for 3 wickets in 17 overs – the match had been shortened following a rain interruption at the start of the same. Brendon McCullum top scored with 56 from 40 balls and was well supported by Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni. Ravindra Jadeja also played a handy cameo down the order to make sure that the Chennai based team posted a competitive total.
Chasing a good total given CSK’s considerable bowling strength, KKR were bundled out for 114/9 in their 17 overs. Robin Uthappa (47 from 38 balls) and Yusuf Pathan (41 from 29 deliveries) tried their level best but perhaps it was not enough in the final analysis to cover up for the failure of the other batters.
Bowling: For Kolkata Shakib al Hasan was the best bowler on view with 2 for 25 from 4 overs and Andre Russell (1 for 25 in 2 overs) was the other wicket taker. Sunil Narine bowled economically but all the other bowlers – Piyush Chawla, R Vinay Kumar and Jacques Kallis – were highly expensive.
Jadeja was the best bowler for Chennai with 4 for 12 from 4 overs and he was ably assisted by seamer Mohit Sharma (3 for 22 in 3 overs) who has been in dream form in the ongoing IPL. Ashwin (1 for 21) bowled really well but the opening bowlers – Ben Hilfenhaus and Ishwar Pandey were pretty expensive.
Where do the teams go from here?
The Chennai Super Kings, at this moment, are playing like a dream and there would not be too many things that it would worry about. However, the situation is not the same for Kolkata Knight Riders.
Their batting has not been performing consistently and without big runs their spinners, who are being projected as the main weapon of the team, have not been as effective as the team management would like them to be. Gambhir, the skipper, has failed to lead from the front with runs and perhaps he, like Sangakkara did for Sunrisers Hyderabad did last year, should think of stepping back and giving other players a chance. They could play someone like Ryan ten Doeschate and may be Kallis can lead the side.
They should also understand that it is useless to play 4 spinners. They already have quality options like Shakib and Narine as well as Yusuf for backup. Perhaps they should think of bringing back Umesh Yadav and Morne Morkel instead of Andre Russell , who did not play much of a role in the game, and Chawla who has proved to be ineffective so far. KKR is already approaching a point of no return and it needs to exhaust all available options before there is a repeat of 2013.