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Chennai Super Kings win last-ball thriller

It was another last-ball finish with Dwayne Bravo hitting a six to take Chennai Super Kings to a 5-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders to keep their hopes of a play-off berth alive here today.

With five runs required from the last ball, Bravo (11 not out off seven balls) smashed Rajat Bhatia for a six over long on to stun a jampacked crowd at Eden Gardens.

Chasing 159 for a win, Michael Hussey (39 from 56 balls) and Murali Vijay (36 from 25 balls) set the platform with a 97-run stand from 10.2 overs for the opening wicket.

CSK players
The Chennai Super Kings team after beating KKR. Pic/AFP

But Sunil Narine's mystery bowling, in which he claimed 2/14, swung the momentum in favour of KKR before Chennai skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (28 balls from 21 balls) set up the match nicely, taking 18 runs from the penultimate over bowled by Marchant de Lange. Nine runs were required from the last over but with Dhoni being dismissed when he was bowled by a slower ball by Bhatia in the second ball, the match went down to the wire. Aiming to send the ball out of the park, Bravo miscued one delivery in the penultimate ball when his bat slipped out of his hands on to the midwicket to take the match to a last ball finish.

With the win today, Chennai climbed to fourth spot in the table to with 17 points from 15 matches, the same as KKR who occupied the third spot with a better net run rate. The win also avenged Chennai's first-leg defeat at home against the same opponents.

Chennai were given an aggressive start by Hussey and Vijay who put on 97-run partnership from 62 balls. The duo seemed to begin from where they had left in the previous match when their 75-run stand had set the tone for a comprehensive nine-wicket win over table toppers Delhi Daredevils.

Laxmipathy Balaji, having recovered from a ligament strain, looked out of sorts as the seamer was hit for 11 runs that included a six, a boundary and a wide. Hussey was equally ruthless against Jacques Kallis for a six in the next over while Vijay too complemented the Aussie with some delightful strokes.

It was raining sixes and boundaries all over the park. The first powerplay yielded 51 runs as Chennai were comfortably placed at 96 for no loss in 10 overs. The blazing start meant that the required run-rate was well under control while KKR struggled on the field.

Even a successful 11th over in which Narine foxed the Chennai opening duo could not make much of an impact. A third wicket followed in the form of Suresh Raina (8) but with the equation reading 49 runs from 40 balls, it was well under control for Dhoni's men.

But Narine's final over in which he conceded just three runs, swung the momentum in favour of KKR with 32 required from last three overs. Narine returned with figures of 4-0-14-2 to give KKR a fine chance but de Lange's penultimate over in which he leaked 18 runs gave the momentum back to Chennai.  

Sunil Narine
Sunil Narine celebrates the dismissal of CSK's openers. Pic/AFP

Earlier, Kolkata Knight Riders failed to capitalise on a 99-run opening partnership between captain Gautam Gambhir and Brendon McCullum as they were restricted to 158 for six by the Super Kings.

In-form Gambhir struck a 43-ball 62, his sixth half-century this season, with six fours and three sixes while McCullum hit 37 from 29 balls with the help of four fours and a six to give Knight Riders a spectacular start.

The duo put on 99 runs for the opening wicket but KKR could not capitalise on the superb start as the middle order failed to fire once again. From 99 for no loss in the 12th over, the Knight Riders were reduced to 128 for five in the 18th over as Jacques Kallis (4), Manoj Tiwary (12) and Yusuf Pathan (11) failed to live up to the challenge as the two-time defending champions Chennai made their way back.

In their must-win match, Dhoni's gamble of inserting the Knight Riders in seemed to have backfired with the duo of Gambhir and McCullum putting on yet another fruitful opening partnership. Their 99-partnership was KKR's second highest, behind 113 (vs Pune Warriors India) this season, something that put themselves in sight of a challenging total.

Gautam gambhir
Gambhir scored a strokeful 62. Pic/AFP

The Knight Riders were 86 for no loss after 10 overs but the remaining five overs proved quite fruitful for Chennai who made a stunning comeback, claiming two wickets for just 26 runs. The opening duo made their intention loud and clear, taking charge of Chennai pace spearhead Ben Hilfenhaus.

The duo bettered their previous best stand of 95 (vs Royal Challengers Bangalore) but a rare mix up in the middle and a direct hit by Dhoni yielded the visitors the much-needed breakthrough in 11.3 overs. McCullum had almost reached midway into the strip for a second run when Gambhir shouted a no and that cost the Kiwi's wicket.

Having conceded 17 runs from his first two overs, Jakati made a successful return in his second spell that yielded two wickets for nine with prized scalps of Kallis (4) and Gambhir to peg back the Knight Riders.  

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