Suresh Raina's second half-century in as many innings propelled Chennai Super Kings to a fighting 155 for five against Kolkata Knight Riders in their IPL encounter at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Tuesday.
Raina punished the spinners with great disdain slamming five sixes apart from three delectable boundaries in his 51-ball 65. The left-hander added 62 off just 36 balls with Faf du Plessis (23) in a match-turning third wicket partnership.
Put into bat, CSK were crawling at 60/2 in 10.3 overs after IPL debutant Pat Cummins and wily Sunil Narine took the prized scalps of Dwayne Smith (5) and Brendon McCullum (28) respectively.
The boundaries dried up initially as KKR bowled tidily with Umesh Yadav and Shakib al Hasan too keeping the batsman quiet in the Powerplay that yielded just 35 on a helpful Eden Gardens wicket which had a greenosh look to it.
Raina, who scored an unbeaten 62 against RCB in the last match, timed his innings beautifully as he started watchfully with McCullum at the other end. Once the explosive Kiwi opener got out to a top edge against Narine, Raina slowly cut loose during an entertaining partnership with Du Plessis.
Making his debut in the IPL, New South Wales pacer Cummins had a maiden-wicket first over after he castled inform CSK opener Dwayne Smith (5) in his second ball to give KKR an inspiring start.
The 21-year-old got perfect help from the grassy patches to bowl beauty which moved a shade away after pitching as the big-hitting West Indian batsman saw the off-stump being pegged back.
It was a rare failure for the CSK opening dup but McCullum made his intentions clear against his former side by smashing the Aussie youngster two sixes and one boundary in his next over to bring the run-rate back on track.
Gambhir brought his trump card Narine and Raina welcomed his with a six over long-on as the KKR skipper was forced had to remove the spinner out of the attack resorting to Yadav and Shakib.
The pace-spin combination did not yield any wicket but they went about their job quietly with only 35 runs in the Powerplay and 59 after 10 overs, with Yadav giving away 17 and Shakib 16 from three overs each.