The adrenaline kept flowing till the last minute and surely not a match for the weak-hearted as Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) beat Chennai Super Kings (CSK) by the thinnest of margins – one run – in a sensational IPL match at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore on Sunday.
Chasing RCB’s 161 for seven, CSK were almost there with CSK skipper smashing Umesh Yadav for 24 runs including three sixes and a four in the last over of the match. With two runs required of the last ball, Dhoni missed a cut shot and ran for a single but RCB wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel managed to break the stumps at the striker’s end with Shardul Thakur just short of his crease (which was confirmed by the third umpire) – the CSK score read 160 for eight in 20 overs even as the RCB players broke into a celebration.
RCB captain Virat Kohli is a staunch admirer of his former India skipper Dhoni from whom he inherited the mantle of captaincy and he also knew the finishing abilities of Dhoni very well. So stifling Dhoni was key to RCB aspiring for a big win, but the CSK skipper kept his cool and composed self to hammer 84 unbeaten runs of 48 balls with seven sixes and five fours.
CSK still continue to top the chart with 14 points from 10 matches with a net run rate (NRR) of +0.087, while RCB remain at the bottom with six points from 10 matches and an NRR of -0.836.
Three quick wickets within the first five overs had CSK struggling. South African fast bowler Dale Steyn, returning to RCB team after a gap of nine years, gave his team vital break throughs by accounting for Shane Watson and Suresh Raina off successive deliveries.
There was an interesting battle between the two other South African teammates – and best friends – Faf du Plussis and A.B. de Villiers in the fray. While du Plessis took a well-judged catch in the deep to dismiss de Villiers; in return de Villiers pouched the uppish stroke of du Plessis and held on to the ball despite Askhdeep Nath colliding with him.
When Kedar Jadhav fell mistiming a pull shot off Umesh Yadav for de Villiers to take the catch CSK were in a spot of bother at 28 for four in 5.5 overs. Skipper Dhoni joined Ambati Rayudu at the crease at the fall of the fourth wicket to steady the rocking boat.
Dhoni and Rayudu added 58 runs for the fifth wicket before Rayudu was bowled off the pads in trying to whip Yuzvendra Chahal on the onside. Rayudu had just started making his intentions of being aggressive to both the pacer and spinners before he was done in by a ball pitching outside his leg stump and he tried to work it away.
Earlier, Parthiv Patel top scored for RCB after being put into bat by Dhoni. Kohli, who scored a century in the previous game, failed to click on this occasion and fell early. A.B. de Villiers and Parthiv Patel added 47 runs for the second wicket to give the RCB innings an initial momentum on their home ground.
Parthiv then stitched small but useful partnerships with Akshdeep Nath (41 runs) and Marcus Stoinis (25 runs) to keep the run rate hovering around eight runs per over. Mooen Ali at number six made a quickfire 26 runs off 16 balls with five fours to give the home team a defendable total.
Warner & Bairstow send KKR on leather hunt: The importance of a strong opening partnership was reemphasised by the Oz-Brit pair of David Warner and Jonny Bairstow as Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) cruised to a comfortable nine-wicket home victory against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad on Sunday. The home crowd had a lot to cheer about as SRH climbed to the fourth spot with 10 points from nine matches and aNRR of +0.737, while KKR languished in the sixth position with six points from 10 games and an NRR of -0.013.
Chasing KKR’s respectable 159 for eight in two overs, SRH cantered to 161 for one in 15 overs riding on the opening blitzkrieg of 131 runs in 12.1 overs. Both Warner and Bairstow were on the attack mode from the very outset of the chase and never gave KKR bowlers any leeway for a breakthrough.