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Although mathematically they are still not out of reckoning, even a win in their last match against Rajasthan Royals on Sunday will not guarantee them a last-four berth. With 12 points from 13 matches, they will now need several other permutations and combinations going their way to be in the playoffs.
The Kolkata outfit will probably remember the name Rituraj Gaikwad for long as the CSK opener almost single-handedly provided a severe blow to their campaign.
Gaikwad picked up from where he left against Royal Challengers Bangalore, dominating the KKR attack from the word go.
The youngster played some delightful strokes against KKR’s main weapon Lockie Ferguson not allowing any bowler to settle down.
He got good support from Ambati Rayudu as the duo laid the foundation with a 68-run second-wicket stand. KKR still had hope when Pat Cummins dismissed Gaikwad for a superb 72 that came off 53 balls with six boundaries and two sixes.
But in spite of Dhoni failing again, it was Ravindra Jadeja who finished off things with two sixes off Kamlesh Nagarkoti in the last over.
Except for the two spinners – Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy — who bowled eight overs among them giving away 43 runs, with the latter picking up two wickets, none of the KKR bowlers looked impressive and leaked runs.
The Kolkata outfit picked a batsman over a bowler on Thursday and in spite of getting a good start and not losing a wicket for the first time in the Powerplay in this IPL, they failed to put up a total that could put enough pressure on the rivals.
The KKR team management once again got their batting order wrong, sending in Rinku Singh ahead of in-form Eoin Morgan.
Rinku, playing his first match in this IPL coming in place of Prasidh Krishna, failed to get going and perished after a run-a-ball 11.
Only a late flourish when KKR collected 66 runs off the last five overs, saw them put up a challenging 172 for five on being asked to bat first after CSK skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss.
Subhman Gill once again provided a fluent start, playing some glorious strokes and putting up 48 runs with Nitish Rana in the Powerplay.
Leg-spinner Karn Sharma provided the first breakthrough when he castled Gill, who played down the wrong line in the first over after the first strategic timeout interval.
Narine made his intentions clear by lifting Karn for a six over long-on. But he perished trying to repeat it against Mitchell Santner in the next over to be caught at deep mid-wicket boundary by Jadeja.
Rana opened up in the 16th over, hitting three consecutive sixes off Karn, who went for 16 runs in his previous three overs. He continued the onslaught, finding two boundaries off Deepak Chahar’s next over. But the Delhi boy fell to Lungi Ngidi in the very next over as Sam Curran took a well-judged skier. The left-hander added 87 runs off 61 balls that included 10 boundaries and four sixes.
The skipper failed to provide a powerful finish falling in the last over off Ngidi for 15 but ex-skipper Dinesh Karthik’s quickfire 21 gave KKR bowlers something to defend.