McCullum, Hodge stun Chennai
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Scorecard:Kolkata Knight Riders v Chennai Super Kings
Player:M Muralitharan, MS Dhoni, SK Raina, WP Saha, BJ Hodge, BB McCullum
Event:Indian Premier League 2009

DateLine: 18th May 2009


It looks like this is the week of the last ball results. When the Kolkata Knight Riders began their chase of 188 against the Chennai Super Kings, not even their most ardent fan would have expected that the team would finish on the winning side.


Skipper Brendon McCullum (81 off 48 balls) and Brad Hodge (71 off 44 balls) though had other ideas. The two played astonishing knocks and made sure the Knights finally win one after a string of disappointing losses.


In the process, they also made sure that Chennai put to hold their celebrations of making it to the final four and ensure that they win their last game so that they reach the semi-final without any hiccup. The game just showed how the bottom feeders could spoil someone else's party.


Chasing 189 to win, McCullum went berserk from the word go and let loose on all cylinders from the first over. Albie Morkel was dispatched to the fence a couple of times in the first over as McCullum sounded early warning bells.


Ganguly (4) though again was a disappointment. He could hardly time the ball in the middle and looked a liability to his opening partner.


Morkel's nightmare did not end there. His next over, the third one of the innings was thrashed for 16 runs. Seeing McCullum's comfort against the seam bowlers, Dhoni brought in Muttiah Muralitharan in as early as the fifth over.


The decision paid rich dividends as Ganguly, who till now was uncomfortable against the bowling, went for an extravagant shot and was bowled.


After he fell, Hodge came in and some very wise batting by the Victorian and the New Zealander took the Knights to 83 for one in 10 overs. The strategy was clear, to give utmost respect to Murali and throw everything at the other bowlers. Murali went for just 16 runs in his four overs but both McCullum and Hodge made sure they did not fall for his tricks.


Apart from Murali, none of the Chennai bowlers impressed and the best economy rate apart from him was that of Suresh Raina who gave away runs at a rate of 8.33.


McCullum's fall though gave Dhoni and his boys a ray of hope. He was immediately followed by David Hussey which was a big breakthrough. This wicket brought Wriddhiman Saha to the crease. He scored a 12-ball 24 and in the process added 56 quick runs with Hodge to take the Knights past the mammoth Super Kings total.


L. Balaji came in for some special treatment by the Kolkata batsmen and his three overs went for 40 runs which included the 19th over of the innings in which Saha and Hodge picked him for 19 runs which included two hits over the fence.


Earlier, batting first after winning the toss, Chennai aided by good knocks by Suresh Raina (52 off 37 balls) and captain MS Dhoni (40 off 28 balls) went on to score a massive 188 for three in their allotted 20 overs.


Chennai decided to rest Matthew Hayden for the first time in the tournament bringing in George Bailey (30) to open with Parthiv Patel (25). The openers gave the side a flying start and added 59 runs in just over six overs before a good throw from Laxmi Ratan Shukla ended a good knock by Patel.


After his departure, Bailey's stay at the crease was also short-lived as he was also a victim of a fine direct throw, again from Shukla. But by this time the openers had done enough for giving both Dhoni and Raina a solid foundation to begin the carnage.


Raina and skipper Dhoni did just that. It was important for Raina to come good in the match considering his previous three knocks had yielded just 48 runs. He played well and in the process played all the shots in the book. The duo carried on the momentum and left Kolkata bowlers and fielders grasping for breath.


Such was the intensity of the carnage that Ajit Agarkar went for 45 in his four overs and the mystery bowler Ajantha Mendis went for 38, Raina especially going after the Sri Lankan.


Raina then got out for a well-made 52 but then Morkel walked in and he was perfect foil for Dhoni. The pair clubbed the opposition as 48 runs were scored in the last four overs. Morkel was especially brutal on Agarkar, hitting him for two nasty sixes in the bowler’s last over.


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