Dwayne Bravo took a three-wicket haul but it could not prevent Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), with Andre Russell and Sunil Narine, from securing a six-wicket win over defending champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in Saturday’s 2022 Indian Premier League (IPL) opener.
MS Dhoni skippered CSK to their fourth title in 2021, beating KKR in the tournament decider, before his shock decision to allow Ravindra Jadeja to lead the side this year – one of two notable changes that left the Super Kings looking a little short.
Bravo’s three wickets saw him draw level with Lasith Malinga’s IPL record of 170.
Kolkata easily chased down Chennai’s 131 for five with nine balls to spare although the West Indies pair of Russell from Jamaica and Narine from Trinidad did not bat. Opener Ajinkya Rahane top-scored for Kolkata with 44 while Dhoni’s vintage 50 not out off 38 balls went in vain for Chennai.
Kolkata scored 133 for four, five months after they couldn’t eclipse Chennai’s 192 in the 2021 final in Dubai.
Kolkata’s chase got off to a solid start with openers Rahane and Venkatesh Iyer sharing 43 runs. Then Rahane put on another 33 with Nitish Rana, 21.
Bravo gave Chennai hope by removing Venkatesh Iyer and Rana and taking three for 20.
But Kolkata was never under pressure, and kept the scorecard ticking over in dewy conditions.
Rahane fell at 87 for three in the 12th over, caught off Mitchell Santner, and Sam Billings picked up the pace by smacking 25 off 22 balls, including a four and a six.
Billings was Bravo’s third wicket, but the win was in sight and completed by Shreyas Iyer and Sheldon Jackson.
Chennai started the IPL’s opening match badly. Ruturaj Gaikwad, the top scorer of last year’s league, was out for a duck and fellow opener Devon Conway fell for four as Umesh Yadav took two for 20 and was named man of the match.
“I did the role my team wanted me to perform today,” Yadav said. “For me, it is about bowling rhythm and I am thankful to my trainers for keeping me in shape.”
Robin Uthappa scored 28 off 21 balls to arrest the slide somewhat, but Ambati Rayudu was run out in a mix-up between them. Uthappa was stumped by the fast reflexes of Jackson.
Chennai struggled for any momentum and were reduced to 61 for five past the halfway mark, but Dhoni and new Chennai skipper Ravindra Jadeja batted out the last 55 deliveries and put on an unbeaten 70.
Jadeja scored 26 off 28 balls, with one six, while Dhoni turned back the clock with his first IPL half-century since 2019.
Russell and Narine each bowled four overs for Kolkata. Russell finished with one for 38 and Narine was wicketless but only conceded 15 runs.