Devon Conway smashed his fourth consecutive fifty of IPL 2023 while Ajinkya Rahane dazzled with an unbeaten 29-ball 71 and Shivam Dube slammed a quick 21-ball fifty to propel Chennai Super Kings to the top of the points table with ten points through an emphatic 49-run win over Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens on Sunday.
In front of a crowd which was a sea of yellow, Conway continued his impressive show while Dube attacked the spinners effortlessly and Rahane went after both pace and spin, timing his shots magnificently as Chennai posted the highest IPL score at this venue and against Kolkata.
In reply, Jason Roy and Rinku Singh struck valiant half-centuries, but they were not enough as Kolkata ended up at 185/8, crashing to their fourth straight defeat of the competition. After Chennai had a blistering 73-run opening partnership, Rahane and Dube shared a fantastic stand of 85 runs off 32 balls for the third wicket.
The four-time champions had their plans bang-on in taking Kolkata's bowling attack to cleaners by hitting 18 sixes and 14 fours in their innings, with leg-spinner Suyash Sharma being the standout bowler for the hosts with his spell of 1-29.
Electing to bowl first, Kolkata used four bowlers in Power-play. But none of them were able to stop the glorious pair of Conway and Ruturaj Gaikwad. While Gaikwad got streaky boundaries off an inside edge and top edge, Conway was like a Ferrari in top gear.
He began by swiping across the line over deep square leg for six off David Wiese, followed by using his feet to hammer Varun Chakaravarthy down the ground for another maximum. Conway easily pulled Wiese for four and was lucky to get a boundary despite mistiming a drive.
After Conway sliced hard off Kulwant Khejroliya for four to bring the fifty of the opening partnership, Gaikwad swung him hard for six and then cut Sunil Narine for a glorious four through extra cover, followed by a magnificent inside-out loft over the same region for six.
Kolkata finally broke the partnership when Suyash got a googly to turn in from outside the off-stump and got a bit of dip to rattle Gaikwad's off-stump. Conway marched on to dance down the pitch and launched Narine for a six over long-on, bringing up his fifty in 34 balls. He then followed it up by nailing a slog-sweep off Chakaravarthy as Chennai brought up their hundred in the 11th over.
His knock ended in the 13th over when he smashed straight to long-off on a wide delivery from Chakaravarthy. Chennai cancelled out the effect of Conway's fall as Dube smashed two huge sixes in the leg-side in the same over.
Rahane joined the boundary-hitting party by smashing two sixes and a four off Umesh in the 14th over yielding 22 runs, with the one timed over deep backward square leg for a maximum off the bowler's pace being the standout.
Dube muscled a six off Wiese over long-on and followed it up by slapping past mid-off for four. Post the fifty-run stand coming in just 16 balls, Dube swung through the line to send Suyash over long-on for six.
Rahane welcomed Andre Russell by pulling him for six and four in the 17th over to bring up his fifty in 24 balls. In the next over, Dube got his fifty in 20 balls with a magnificent pulled six, before holing out to long-off on the very next ball.
But Rahane continued to sizzle, bringing out a cheeky scoop off Khejroliya and then danced down the pitch twice to smash consecutive sixes off Chakaravarthy while cutting through cover for four to take 19 runs off the 19th over. Ravindra Jadeja muscled two sixes off Khejroliya in the final over, before holing out to a deep backward square leg, as Chennai crossed the 230-mark.
In reply, Kolkata lost Sunil Narine and N. Jagadeesan in the first two overs. Nitish Rana and Venkatesh Iyer shared a decent 45-run standoff 35 balls before Moeen Ali struck on his first ball by trapping the latter plumb lbw.
Roy came out to bat at five after injuring his ankle earlier while fielding and began with a hat-trick of sixes by sweeping twice and reverse-sweeping once. After Rana slog-swept straight to deep mid-wicket off Jadeja, Roy powerfully swept and sliced off him for six and four respectively, while Rinku slammed another six as 19 runs came off the 11th over.
He then pulled and swung for more boundaries to reach his fifty in 19 balls with a slice past third man for four. Roy went on hit Theekshana for back-to-back fours in the 15th over. But the off-spinner had the last laugh as he castled Roy with a beautiful carrom ball which had some dip.
Despite Andre Russell and Umesh Yadav getting caught in the deep while David Wiese was trapped lbw, Rinku continued to smash boundaries and get his fifty in 30 balls to keep the losing margin below 50 runs.
Chennai Super Kings 235/4 in 20 overs (Ajinkya Rahane 71 not out, Devon Conway 56, Shivam Dube 50; Kulwant Khejroliya 2-44, Suyash Sharma 1-29) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 186/6 in 20 overs (Jason Roy 61, Rinku Singh 53 not out; Maheesh Theekshana 2-32, Tushar Deshpande 2-43) by 49 runs