Spoiling Kolkata Knight Riders' playoff jog, Chennai Super Kings, powered by Ruturaj Gaikwad's vital knock, have beaten the purple and gold outfit by six wickets at the Dubai International Cricket stadium.
Put to bat first by Chennai, the Kolkata franchise posted a total of 172/5 after their 20 overs, aided by 61-ball 87 of Nitish Rana and a late surge from Dinesh Karthik (21 runs off 10 balls).
For Chennai, Gaikwad opened batting with Shane Watson as Chennai decided to bench their star performer Faf du Plessis.
It has not even been 10 days after Mahendra Singh Dhoni made his controversial statement citing a lack of spark in the CSK's youngsters.
Since then, the 23-year-old played three matches, got out for a duck against Mumbai, then stayed not out and led CSK to an emphatic victory against Bangalore and tonight, yet again, he crowned his talent with a match-winning knock against KKR.
Looking to lead the charge, Gaikwad, who was adjudged the Man of the match, kept racking up runs with classical cricketing strokes and did not let the run-rate creep up.
CSK scored 44 runs in the powerplay overs with Gaikwad outscoring the veteran Shane Watson. His straight six off spinner Varun Chakravarthy, right over his head, was quite prominently his best shot of the night.
His sublime knock of 72 off 53 balls came to an end in the 18th over, when Aussie quick Pat Cummins castled the youngster with a full and straight yorker.
Varun Chakaravarthy was the pick of the KKR bowlers as he scalped three vital wickets and bowled a tight line. Cramped for space, Watson (14) ended giving his wicket to the mystery spinner.
Ambati Rayudu came in next and built a formidable 68-run partnership with Gaikwad. After a quickfire 38 off 20 balls, Rayudu was sent back to the pavilion by Cummins.
Skipper Dhoni walked in at No.4 after the dismissal of Rayudu. Trying to make room, he fell to Chakravarthy for the second time in the tournament.
Ravindra Jadeja ended the chase in style with two consecutive sixes off Kamlesh Nagarkoti in the final over
Earlier in the KKR innings, Rana and Shubman Gill (26 off 17 balls) set a solid platform for a promising total.
Although Gill looked in good touch and hit four boundaries, he fell to leggie Karn Sharma.
The Kolkata outfit's innings was plagued by regular wicket-loss. Their first-time pick Rinku Singh too failed to make a mark at number four ahead of captain Eoin Morgan.
The loss has not only made things tougher for KKR but also sent Mumbai Indians into the IPL play-offs with the defending champions becoming the first team to qualify.