Jos Buttler 8(5); | (5);
Shahbaz Nadeem* 3.4-0-33-2; | Mohammed Shami 2-0-16-0
Ravindra Jadeja* 11(7); | Dwayne Bravo 11(7);
Vinay Kumar* 1.5-0-35-0; | Tom Curran 3-0-39-2
Four days in and we have had some absolute crackers, couple involving CHN. They are just showing us how much everybody missed them in the last two seasons. Two close finishes and they got over the line both the times. One remarkable thing about CHN is their awesomeness to find unlikely heroes, today it was Sam Billings. Right on that note, this is Akshay Maanay taking leave from the comm box along with my colleagues Pradeep Krishnamurthy, Raju Peethala, Abhinand Raghavendran, Nikhil Jadhav and scorer Naga. Good night!
A few stats before signing off - courtesy Deepu Narayanan
Watson + Rayudu + Billings + Bravo: 148 off 73 (SR 202.73)Raina + Dhoni + Jadeja: 50 off 47 (SR 106.38)
Most sixes in an T20 League match: 31 CHN v KOL, Chennai, 2018 31 DEL v GUJ, Delhi, 2017 30 CHN v RAJ, Chennai, 2010 26 MUM v PUN, Mumbai WS, 2017
Highest succesful chases by CHN:206 v BLR, Chennai, 2012203 v KOL, Chennai, 2018193 v PUN, Dharamsala, 2010188 v DEL, Delhi, 2008
Highest succesful chases vs KOL:203 by CHN, Chennai, 2018201 by PUN, Kolkata, 2010188 by MUM, Kolkata, 2016188 by GUJ, Kolkata, 2017184 by BLR Kolkata, 2016
Sam Billings, Man of the Match: It was an absolute pleasure to play in a team of legends. That is the great thing about the T20 League. You have the opportunity to learn from Hussey; the batting coach as well. You know your options in your head, plan A, plan B and plan C, but you need to believe in yourself and execute. Thankfully it was my day and it was a lot of fun. We showed in the first game with Bravo, in T20 cricket, you need to take it deep. We have lots of power in our batting line-up and we know as a team any target can be breached.
Dhoni: It feels good to come back after two years and win the first game. I think it was a fantastic game. They (the crowd) deserved every bit of it; the first innings and the second innings. Everyone has their emotions and we tell everybody to keep it under control. We need to have the faith in the batsman who is batting or the bowler who is bowling. At the end of the day, there is one man to bat that particular delivery and one bowler to bowl that particular over. Lot of positive energy helps. At times you feel disappointed, but that's why the dressing room is there to express yourself and not in the dugout. We all feel the same. If we are too expressive, the commentators get a lot to talk about. Yes (about different players contributing). But every game one player is getting injured. By that calculation we will not have 14 players at the end of the league other than that it is good to see Sam bat the way he did. Somehow still feel that KOL scored more than us because with all those sixes. T20 League should add two more runs for sixes hit out of the ground. Bowlers had a rough day from both the sides, but overall it was a good day for the crowd over here.
Shane Watson gets the purple cap for becoming the highest wicket-taker - It was a really nice wicket. The ball was coming nicely onto the bat. Chasing 202, we needed to get off to a flier, to make things easier for the rest of the batting. We have had a sea of supporters - even during practice sessions, it's very special. It was do-or-die (regarding the strategy for the chase), we had to get a feel of the wicket and then had to go and play our shots. If it was your day, it would go over the fence, it turned up well for us today. The game is evolving and getting better, it feels great for me at this stage of my career to play for such a great franchise and in front of the cricket loving people of India.
Dinesh Karthik: CHN is coming back after two years and we were expecting that (support). Hats off to them. They played a good game. Hats off to Andre. He put is in a great position. These things happen in T20 cricket. You gotta keep your chin up and keep moving forward. In T20s, you are going to lose some games. It's important to take the positives. In the next games, we shouldn't repeat the same mistakes. We are playing HYD at home; two good teams and it's going to be a good match for sure.
What a game! How do you go about chasing a 200+ target? By recording your team's fastest fifty. Watson and Rayudu gave them the perfect start and added 75 for the opening wicket in 5.5 overs. The KOL spinners - Narine and Kuldeep brought the visitors back in the game with some tight bowling and managed to take the required run-rate past 12. Raina could not get going because of cramps, while Dhoni took time before nailing a couple. However, the telling contribution came from CHN's new recruit - Sam Billings. The Englishman mixed it with some mindful batting and sensational hitting. With 17 needed off the final over, the game could have gone either side, but Vinay Kumar's poor start tilted it in favour of CHN, who finished off the chase with a ball remaining.
Ufff! Let me take a breather before we start summarizing the game. The CHN players run on to the ground to congratulate the batsmen. Jadeja and Bravo have word with each other. Dhoni as usual remains calm even as the crowd erupt after the winning hit. Bravo started doing his jig and Jadeja had his arms aloft. Glum faces in the KOL team. They had their moments but CHN did what CHN do - believe in themselves to pull off another heist.
Lynn has a word with Vinay. Fine leg and third man in. Over the wicket to Jadeja..
Now the two batsmen have a word in the middle. It must be on the running. To go for the second or not. Jadeja has found it difficult to connect with the big hits. So, Bravo should keep most of the strike. "Bravo, Bravo" chants the Chepauk crowd.
Free-hit coming up..
Vinay Kumar [1.0-0-16-0] is back into the attack
So after all the twisting and turning it comes down to 17 off the final over. Vinay ran straightaway after fielding the final ball of the over. It must be him. Big responsibility for the Karnataka captain. The tension can be seen amongst the fans. Very stoic faces in the crowd. DK moving his field around. Third man and fine leg inside the ring. Here we go..
Dwayne Bravo, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Tom Curran to Billings, THAT'S OUT!! Caught!!
Fastest 50s for CHN in T20 League:16 S Raina v PUN, Mumbai WS, 201420 MS Dhoni v MUM, Bengaluru, 201221 S Billings, tonight *
Tom Curran [2.0-0-29-1] is back into the attack
Those two sixes from Billings has brought the equation down to 27 off 12. Another big over and the match might be done and dusted. Curran in his debut game to bowl the penultimate over. Pressure!
Andre Russell [3.0-0-20-0] is back into the attack
42 off 18. Was it a wise move to send Jadeja ahead of Bravo? Especially when the latter has just won them the game. Russell to bowl his final over. DK relying on Curran and the others to bowl the last two.
Ravindra Jadeja, left handed bat, comes to the crease
Chawla to Dhoni, THAT'S OUT!! Caught!!
Piyush Chawla [3.0-0-40-0] is back into the attack
Narine to Dhoni in T20 League:51 balls, 25 runs, no fours, no sixes, no dismissals, SR 49.01
Strategic time-out! Narine is done. Impressive figures for him, 4-0-17-1. He really does enjoy bowling at Chepauk. What is the scenario now? 51 off 24. Russell has one. Curran has two. Who will DK go for the other one? Kuldeep or Vinay? Looks like it is going to be Kuldeep. Nope it is Chawla. Watch out for the seam-up deliveries..
Sunil Narine [3.0-0-11-1] is back into the attack
The equation has come down to 58 off 30. And over the years when KOL have had a costly over, they have turned to Narine to produce a quiet one. The West Indian is on here bowling his last over. Dhoni will face him..
This should be interesting - Englishman v Englishman. Point moves back and sweeper comes in for Billings. Scratch that. Sweeper out and point in. Mid-off inside the circle as well..
Tom Curran [1.0-0-12-1] is back into the attack
That 16-run over has helped bring the required run-rate down to 12.5. Remember, DK has bowled out three of Russell's overs. So, there is a big job waiting for debutant - Tom Curran. Here he is. Helmet on for Dhoni. Plenty of field changes. Karthik is waving his hand all over the field. Fine leg and third man inside the ring for Dhoni and Karthik is still not done setting his field.
Kuldeep Yadav [2.0-0-13-1] is back into the attack
Dhoni just took a pill between the overs. Is he also carrying a niggle or something? Doesn't show on his poker face.
Piyush Chawla [2.0-0-31-0] is back into the attack
CHN need exact 100 off 48 balls. They need to rethink their strategy. Dhoni to bat through, while Billings, Bravo and Jadeja to smash it around. Looks like the skipper is going on the attack as he changes his bat - might be to a heavier one.
"That was the first time Narine dismissed Raina..." - Deepu, our statsman, is sharp as ever.
Sam Billings, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Narine to Raina, THAT'S OUT!! Caught!!
KOL review: Narine and DK confer and decide to challenge the LBW appeal against Dhoni. Fair delivery. It was the offie and not sure if Dhoni picked it. Struck on the front pad. No inside edge as per UltraEdge. Ball-tracking shows it to be going over. Review lost! A loud roar as that plays on the giant screen.
That six was the first boundary in 34 balls.
Raina struggling with his running. Could barely cross over.
113 runs required off the last 10 overs! Some sanity restored after that manic powerplay. The last four overs have yielded only 15 runs. CHN will want their experienced to rebuild the innings. The required rate has shot past 11.
Deepu Numberayanan's stats corner: "Since T20 League 2013, among the 45 players who have faced at least 250 balls in the middle overs (7-15), MS Dhoni is the only player to score at less than a run-a-ball with a strike-rate of 95.30 during this stage."
Raina is in trouble, he seems to be struggling with cramps. Hopefully nothing more than that. He has taken the pad off and the physio is out on the field attending him. Conditions at Chepauk, even the best and the fittest in the business can feel the heat here. So hot. So humid.
My bad, Deepu was the culprit. Not Kaushik...
"Kuldeep to Dhoni in T20 League: 6 2 W 0 0 0 1 1 W. #BunnyAlert." - Oh, Kaushik, I really hope no one saw you typing that hashtag at the stadium! :O
MS Dhoni, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Kuldeep Yadav to Rayudu, THAT'S OUT!! Caught!!
Kuldeep Yadav, left-arm chinaman, comes into the attack
Sunil Narine, right-arm off break, comes into the attack
After getting Watson's wicket, Tom Curran gave him a send off. Some words were exchanged between the two and the commentators are having a laugh about it. KP, especially! He absolutely loved it!
Umpires are not happy with the condition of the ball. Probably due to it's color. The white ball has turned to blue and Rayudu has a problem with that. He has asked the umpire to have a look at it, and I suppose it has been changed. Yes, they have!
Time-out! 75 runs in 6 overs, whoosh! That's some batting, some mad hitting by the openers in the powerplay. Had that wicket not fallen, it would have been an ideal powerplay for the hosts. With Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav yet to bowl it would be interesting to see how the CHN top order deals with them.
Suresh Raina, left handed bat, comes to the crease
Tom Curran to Watson, THAT'S OUT!! Caught!!
Tom Curran, right-arm fast medium, comes into the attack
Fewest balls to 50 for CHN:3.4 v KOL, Chennai, 2018 *3.5 v PUN, Mumbai WS, 20143.6 v BLR, Bangalore, 20143.6 v MUM, Mumbai WS, 20153.6 v KOL, Kolkata, 2015
Andre Russell, right-arm fast, comes into the attack
Piyush Chawla, right-arm leg break, comes into the attack
Watson and Rayudu are at the crease. Watson is on strike. Vinay Kumar will open the attack