IPL

KKR claim swift revenge despite fight from Dhoni, Bravo in IPL opener

By Sports Desk March 26, 2022

Kolkata Knight Riders eased to a six-wicket win in Saturday's 2022 IPL opener, with MS Dhoni unable to rescue a result for defending champions Chennai Super Kings in his first match since stepping aside as captain.

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.

CSK first missed the steadying presence of the departed Faf du Plessis – Player of the Match in last year's final – at the top of the order and were in need of a lift from Jadeja when he arrived in the middle in the eighth over.

Instead, he had Ambati Rayudu run out and almost consigned Shivam Dube to the same fate before finally settling alongside Dhoni.

The 40-year-old still did much of the heavy lifting in their 70-run, 56-ball partnership, scoring 35 off his final 13 deliveries to reach an unbeaten 50 and allow Jadeja's (26 not out) innings-ending six to take the Super Kings to what they hoped would prove a competitive 131-5.

Ultimately, that was not enough, as 44 from KKR opener Ajinkya Rahane ensured the chase was always ahead of the game.

Three Dwayne Bravo wickets saw him draw level with Lasith Malinga's IPL record of 170, but Shreyas Iyer, KKR's own new captain, finished the job with his unbeaten 20.
 

Teething problems for first-time skipper

There were no safer pair of hands in the IPL last year than Jadeja's, as he made 13 catches – the most of any player excluding wicket-keepers. But this was a nervy bow as captain in his 201st IPL match, only looking remotely comfortable with the bat once Dhoni – walking in to huge applause – took control.

Similarly, Jadeja appeared far happier playing his natural game than making big calls in the second innings, taking a simple catch from Rahane but soon blowing a review on an lbw appeal that saw Sam Billings clearly glove the ball.

KKR's long wait for Wankhede win ended

KKR ultimately fell just short in the final, but they were happy to see the 2021 tournament shifted to the United Arab Emirates due to coronavirus. The Knight Riders had won only one of their previous six IPL matches in India.

They may well have feared this match at Wankhede Stadium then, a venue at which they had suffered eight successive defeats. However, a first KKR win here since May 2012 was secured with relative ease.

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