A resolute innings from Mike Hussey has helped Chennai Super Kings to a nervy four-wicket victory over Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League.
Hussey stood firm as wickets fell around him until Ravindra Jadeja was able to launch a rescue bid that revived his team’s lagging spirits.
The India all-rounder claimed 3-20 with the ball to restrict the reigning champions to 119-9 batting first, however Chennai threated to make a complete mess of the run-chase as they slumped to 89-6 in reply.
But this was to be Jadeja’s day and he eclipsed his bowling display with an explosive 36 not out off 14 balls to see Chennai home with five balls to spare.
The left-hander hit three sixes and three fours, his third maximum sealing victory in the final over after Hussey had been dismissed for 40 runs of 51 balls.
A Chennai victory looked inevitable after India spin twins Jadeja and Ravi Ashwin (2-31) ripped through the Kolkata middle-order.
Gautam Gambhir and Yusuf Pathan (both 25) had earlier shared a 46-run opening partnership inside six overs but thereafter the Super Kings seized the initiative.
Eoin Morgan made only two before chipping a Dwayne Bravo slower ball to Jadeja and Ashwin then accounted for Debabrata Das and Manoj Tiwary in successive overs.
Jedaja then took centre stage with the wickets of Rajat Bhatia and Laxmi Shukla in the space of three balls as Chennai crumbled at the end of their innings.
The home side’s spirits were soon lifted when four Chennai wickets fell with only 54 runs on the board.
In other IPL action, Chris Gayle scored an unbeaten 49 as Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets.
The Royals staggered to just 117 in 19.4 overs, with veteran former India batsman Rahul Dravid top-scoring with 35. RP Singh took 3-13 and Vinay Kumar 3-18 for the hosts.
There was a slight wobble for the Challengers as they crawled to 64-3 after nine overs, but Gayle and Saurabh Tiwary – on his return from injury – saw them home.
Gayle’s 49 came in a careful 44 balls, as he made do with four fours and a six.
Tiwary blasted one maximum in his 29-ball knock, as the pair guided the table-topping Challengers home with 13 balls to spare.