Faf du Plessis scored 20 off just 11 balls, but the contribution wasn’t significant enough as Chennai Super Kings lost by seven wickets to defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens on Thursday.
The Super Kings posted a respectable 165 from their allotted overs, but the Knight Riders chased it down with ease thanks to bruising knocks from Robin Uthappa and Andre Russell.
Just two days after Chennai defeated the same opposition by two runs, the two-time champions, chasing a seventh win in eight matches, lost the toss and were sent into bat first, and they were immediately put on the back foot with the first-ball dismissal of Dwayne Smith.
Suresh Raina also struggled to contribute but Brendon McCullum was in rampant mood. His innings lasted just 12 balls but he was able to amass 32 runs from them.
Du Plessis also dealt in boundaries, literally, as his knock of 20 consisted of five fours. His innings was also short-lived though as he continued a lean run. His highest score this season remains 33.
Dwayne Bravo also chipped in with 30, before countryman Andre Russell bowled him for the first of his two wickets on the night. Brad Hogg proved an inspired selection, as the 44-year-old playing in just his second match for KKR picked up the wickets of Ravindra Jadeja and Pawan Negi late on, finishing with figures of 4-29.
The 12-ball knock from McCullum was Chennai’s best as they settled for 165-9.
Robin Uthappa has had a relatively quiet tournament compared to the high standards he set for himself last season, but the beast was awoken as he led KKR’s response. Together with Gautam Gambhir the pair put on a brisk 33 before Mohit Sharma accounted for skipper Gambhir.
The Super Kings were in charge with the further wickets of Manish Pandey and Suryakumar Yadav, but Andre Russell strode to the crease in the tenth over and swiftly ended the opposition’s fight in destructive fashion.
Russell and Uthappa bullied the bowling attack as they both raced to fifties, and eventually their 112-run stand was a match-winning one, securing victory off the penultimate delivery. Uthappa struck 80, Man of the Match Russell hit 55 to notch up a fourth win for their side.