Billings earns Chennai 5-wkt win against Kolkata in IPL

CHENNAI, India (AP) Sam Billings’ blistering half century overshadowed Andre Russell’s powerful 88 off 36 balls as Chennai Super Kings won a high-scoring Indian Premier League match against Kolkata Knight Riders by five wickets on Tuesday.

Billings, one of the two changes made by Chennai, blazed 56 off 23 balls to carry Chennai to 205-5 with a ball to spare.

Kolkata, after being put in to bat by Chennai captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, rode Russell’s powerful knock that included 11 sixes and a four to rack up 202-6.

”It feels good, to come back after two years and win,” Dhoni said as Chennai returned to the IPL after a two-year ban and played in front of the home fans.

”It’s good to see Sam bat the way he batted. Yes, we did go for runs, and Kolkata did bat well. Bowlers from both sides had a rough time, but I’m sure the crowd enjoyed.”

Billings was dropped on 9 by Robin Uthappa at mid off which could have made Chennai struggle at 129-4 in the 15th over.

But the Englishman plundered five sixes and two fours to make a match before holing out in the deep with Chennai still needing 19 off eight balls.

Dwayne Bravo and Ajay Jadeja both scored unbeaten 11 runs each, hitting sixes in the last over of medium fast bowler Vinay Kumar to give Chennai their second successive victory in the IPL.

”Frustrating not to defend 202, but well done to Andre,” said Kolkata skipper Dinesh Karthik. ”These things happen in T20 cricket, so you’ve got to keep your chin up and move on.”

Shane Watson had provided Chennai a flying start of 75-1 in six overs with the Australian scoring 42 off 19 balls before Kolkata hit back through their spinners Sunil Narine (1-17) and Kuldeep Yadav (1-27).

But Billings, arriving in the 12th over, first added 54 runs with Dhoni (25) before cutting lose to give Chennai a memorable victory on their return to IPL after two years ban at the home ground.

Earlier, Kolkata lost their big-hitting openers Chris Lynn (22) and Narine (12) inside the batting powerplay of six overs.

They lost three more wickets by the halfway mark at 89-5 before Russell joined captain Dinesh Karthik (26) and blazed 76-run stand off 46 balls.

The powerful West Indian took charge against Chennai seamers Dwayne Bravo (0-50), Shardul Thakur and Watson in the last five overs which produced 79 runs.

Russell smashed five sixes off his countryman Dwayne Bravo’s two overs, one of which flew 105 meters and went outside the stadium.

He completed his half century off 26 balls with six sixes and a four before finishing off the innings with a six off Thakur’s last ball of the innings.

Chennai now have two victories after they defeated defending champions Mumbai Indians in their opening match. Kolkata, which defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore, have one victory and a loss.


Mumbai Indians’ Australian fast bowler Pat Cummins has been ruled out of the rest of the IPL due to back problems. Cricket Australia says Cummins will be rested so that his condition doesn’t worsen.

Cummins didn’t play Mumbai’s opening match against Chennai last Saturday.

”Pat experienced some back soreness during the fourth test in South Africa. Follow-up scans have confirmed that he has bone oedema in his vertebrae,” said Australia physio David Beakley.

”It is important that Pat has time off bowling, to prevent the injury becoming more serious and consequently we have made the decision to rule Pat out of the IPL.”

Cummins was signed for around $831,000 by Mumbai.