Kolkata Knight Riders started their Indian Premier League 2022 campaign in impressive fashion as they defeated defending champions Chennai Super Kings by six wickets at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday.
Set a target of 132 after an unbeaten half-century by former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni guided CSK to a respectable total, Kolkata commanded the chase from the get-go thanks to opener Ajinkya Rahane.
The right-hander scored 44 runs off 34 deliveries with six fours and a six to set up the chase for KKR as Chennai attacked with the ball in search of wickets.
Venkatesh Iyer was the first KKR batter to perish and the quick dismissals of Nitish Rana and Rahane offered CSK a glimmer of hope but Kolkata’s new captain Shreyas Iyer remained unbeaten on 20 off 19, with Sam Billings scoring 25 off 22 at No 5, to seal the deal.
Earlier, Chennai were asked to bat first and got off to a slow start on a green-ish Wankhede pitch that had something in it for fast bowlers and were restricted to 131/5 thanks to some disciplined bowling by Kolkata.
The men in yellow got to 35/2 at the end of the powerplay as openers Ruturaj Gaikwad (0) and Devon Conway (3) fell cheaply. Robin Uthappa (28 off 21) and Ambati Rayudu (15 off 17) tried to up the ante but perished just as they were starting to look threatening. Shivam Dube (3) too couldn’t make an impact on his CSK debut.
It came down to an unbeaten partnership between the experienced duo of Dhoni and new skipper Ravindra Jadeja to revive the CSK innings.
Dhoni got off to a slow start and was on 15 off 25 at one stage but scored 35 runs off the last 13 balls he faced to remain unbeaten on 50 off 38. The former captain hit seven fours and a six in his knock. Jadeja, meanwhile, remained unbeaten on 26 off 28 as the duo added 70 runs for the sixth wicket.