All-round Kolkata down Chennai to keep play-off hopes alive
Fifties from skipper Nitish Rana and Rinku Singh led Kolkata Knight Riders to a six-wicket win over Chennai Super Kings and stay alive in the Indian Premier League on Sunday.
Kolkata kept Chennai down to 144-6, a total they overhauled riding on a key stand of 99 between Rinku (54) and Rana (57 not out) in Chennai.
Spinners Varun Chakravarthy and Sunil Narine took two wickets each to set up victory as Kolkata jumped a spot to seventh in their attempt to finish the league stage on top four for a play-off berth.
"I said at the toss that if we do well in all the three departments, then our chances are good," Rana said after his team's sixth win in 13 matches.
Four-time winners Chennai remain second in the 10-team table led by holders Gujarat Titans and on course for the play-offs.
Kolkata looked in trouble at 33-3 after Chennai pace bowler Deepak Chahar's third strike to send back Jason Roy, before the left-handed pair of Rinku and Rana guided the team home with nine balls to spare.
Rinku, who became an IPL sensation with his five sixes off the last five balls to conjure up a miracle win for Kolkata last month, struck his third fifty of the season before being run out. He was named man of the match.
Rana made most of a dropped catch on 18 to reach his fifty and stood firm to hit the winning runs.
Four-time winners Chennai started strongly but slipped from 61-1 to 72-5 in the space of 19 balls before Shivam Dube revived the innings with his unbeaten 48.
- Royal plunder -
Dube kept up the fight in his 34-ball knock laced with three sixes but it was superstar and skipper M.S. Dhoni who brought the house down in his team's last league game at M.A. Chidambaram Stadium.
Dhoni, who many suspect is playing his final IPL, walked in to a deafening roar as he faced four balls including a wide and no-ball on which he was bowled but ended on two not out.
In the first match of the day, skipper Faf du Plessis and Glenn Maxwell helped Royal Challengers Bangalore boost their play-off chances with a 112-run rout of Rajasthan Royals.
Du Plessis made 55 and Maxwell smashed a 33-ball 54 to guide Bangalore to 171-5 before their bowlers then skittled Rajasthan for 59 runs in Jaipur.
South African left-arm quick Wayne Parnell took three wickets, including Jos Buttler for a duck, as Rajasthan fell to the third-lowest total in Indian Premier League history.
The lowest IPL total was Bangalore's 49 against Kolkata in 2017.
Bangalore, still searching for their first IPL title, moved up two places to fifth in the 10-team table, with the top four to make the play-offs.
"Really good for our net-rate," said Du Plessis. "We batted first and assessed the conditions. We batted in the powerplay and thought 160 will be a good score."
Inaugural champions Rajasthan dropped to sixth with a game left in the league stage after their heaviest defeat in the T20 tournament.