Hyderabad: Andre Russell smashed a breathtaking half century while Ryan ten Doeschate struck a fine unbeaten 51 to guide IPL champions Kolkata Knight Riders to a three-wicket win over Chennai Super Kings in a thrilling Champions League T20 Group A opener, here on Wednesday night.
Chasing a competitive 158 for win, KKR were in trouble after slumping to 51 for five inside 10 overs.
But Russell (58 off 25) and Ten Doeschate shared match-winning 80 runs for the sixth wicket off just 42 balls to keep KKR afloat.
After Russell's dismissal, Ten Doeshchate took the onus on himself to guide KKR home and managed to achieve that with
six balls to spare.
KKR's chase, however, started on a horrendous note as they lost their first four wickets inside the 30-run mark.
Left-arm pacer Ashish Nehra (4/21) was the wrecker-in-chief for KKR. He accounted for the wickets of KKR skipper
Gautam Gambhir, Manish Pandey and Manvinder Bisla in quick succession to rattle CSK.
In fact, Nehra was on the verge of a hat-trick as he dismissed Gambhir and Pandey in consecutive balls in the third
Ryan ten Doeschate scored a brilliant 41-ball 51 to take KKR to victory over CSK.
CSK bowlers gave their team the perfect start by reducing KKR to 10 for three in the first three overs. Former India pacer Ashish Nehra sent back Kolkata skipper Gautam Gambhir (6) and Manish Pandey (0) off consecutive balls in the second over of the innings.
Medium-pacer Mohit Sharma then gave another jolt to the Knight Riders when he removed the dangerous Yusuf Pathan for one off the first ball of the third over. In the next over, Nehra came back to dismiss the other opener Manvinder Bisla (2).
Mumbai lad Surya Kumar Yadav (19) then strung a 30-run stand with ten Doeschate before Ravindra Jadeja broke the little partnership.
The Netherlands all-rounder then stitched a formidable 80-run partnership with Andre Russell before Nehra cleaned up the West Indian. Russell was the more aggressive of the two in the partnership having scored 58 off just 25 balls with four boundaries and five sixes.
Doeschate, however, ensured with his 41-ball 51 that there were no more hiccups for KKR as he remained unbeaten to take his team home.
Earlier, Chennai Super Kings rode on late bursts from skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo to post a fighting 157 for four.
With CSK in a spot of bother at 86 for four in 12.3 overs, Dhoni and Bravo joinded hands to pull the team out of trouble with an unbeaten 71 runs partnership off just 45 balls.
Dhoni finished the innings unbeaten on 35 off 20 balls with the help of three fours and two sixes, while Bravo decorated his unconquered run-a-ball 28-run knock with two boundaries and as many hits over the fence.
Sent into bat, CSK were off to a quick start with the opening pair of Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum sharing 37 runs runs off 24 balls.
Smith's 20-run knock off 13 balls was laced with four boundaries before he was caught behind off leg-spinner Piyush Chawla's (2/26).
McCullum (22 off 19) followed suit as he was struck plumb in front of the wicket by part-time spinner Yusuf Pathan (1/16) while attempting a reverse sweep.
With CSK in a spot of bother at 49 for two in 6.4 overs, Suresh Raina took the onus on himself to ressurect his side's innings in the company of Faf du Plesis. The duo added 35 runs for the third wicket before Raina was adjudged LBW off Sunil Narine (1/9) in the 12th over with CSK's score reading 84 for three.
With KKR producing a disciplined bowling effort in the middle overs, the CSK batsmem found it difficult to score runs easily.
CSK's problems compounded further when du Plessis departed in the 13th over to give Chawla his second wicket of the day.
With runs hard to come by off the spinners, CSK batsmen waited for the pacers to open up. They finally did when a gutsy Dwayne Bravo opened up against Umesh Yadav and punished the pacer for two fours in the 14th over.
Inspired by Bravo's strokeplay, Dhoni too opened his arms and smashed Andre Russell for two bounadries to pick up 12 runs in the 15th over.
With overs running out, it was desperate times for CSK bastmen and young Pat Cummins became the victim when Bravo clobbered the pacer for two sixes in the 17th over that yielded 21 runs.
Cummins was once again at the firing line as Dhoni whacked the bowler over deep midwicket boundary for a six in the penultimate over. Dhoni then took Umesh Yadav to the cleaners, striking a four and a humongous six off the last ball to finish off the innings in style.
Chennai Super Kings: 157 for four in 20 overs (Mahendra Singh Dhoni 35 not out, Dwayne Bravo 28 not out; Piyush Chawla 2/26).
Kolkata Knight Riders: 159 for seven in 18.6 overs (Andre Russell 58, Ryan ten Doeschate 51 not out; Ashish Nehra 4/21).