Faf du Plessis and Lungi Ngidi produced inspired efforts with bat and ball to set up an 18-run win for the Chennai Super Kings over the Kolkata Knight Riders on Wednesday.
Du Plessis, alongside his opening partner, Ruturaj Gaikwad (64), got stuck into the KKR bowlers racing to 54-0 in the powerplay. Their partnership was eventually halted at 115 but this did nothing to stop the CSK train.
Moeen Ali (25) and MS Dhoni (17) joined Du Plessis and both went at a strike rate of over 200, but the former Proteas captain was the real hero of the innings ending on 95* from 60 balls. It was a timely reminder for the CSA national team selectors of the veteran’s still prevalent skills as CSK eventually ended on 220-3.
In their chase of the mammoth target, everything that could go wrong did for KKR at the start. This was due to some outstanding new-ball bowling from Deepak Chahar (4-29). Playing in his first match of the IPL season, Ngidi (3-28) was among the wickets which will work wonders for his confidence and guarantee an extended run in the side.
Andre Russel (54) and later Pat Cummins (66*) saved some KKR blushes and kept them in the game with blistering fifties each. However, KKR were always playing catch up throughout the innings and were bowled out in the final over for 202.
CSK join the Royal Challenge Bangalore and the Delhi Capitals on three wins at the top of the table, while KKR suffered their third loss of the IPL season as their struggles continue.