Dhoni Blasts Chennai To Victory
Chennai Super Kings 160-2 (du Plessis 54no) beat
Royal Challengers Bangalore 154-6 by 8 wickets
Indian Premier League 2014, Bangalore
Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni shrugged off an ankle injury to hammer an unbeaten 49 in 27 balls as his side beat the Royal Challengers Bangalore by eight wickets to end a run of three Indian Premier League 2014 defeats.
Faf du Plessis was also unbeaten on 54 in 43 deliveries as Chennai gave their net run-rate a boost as they bid to end the league stage of the tournament in second place.
Virat Kohli had earlier scored 73 in 49 balls but that could only lead Bangalore to a below par score of 154 for six.
With this win, Chennai finished their league matches on 18 points from 14 games (nine wins) and are in second spot at the moment. They have qualified for the knockout stage but they could yet be displaced from second to third, if Kolkata Knight Riders (16 points from 13 games) win on a better run-rate against Sunrisers Hyderabad later tonight.
Meanwhile, Bangalore finished on 10 points from their 14 games, but finished in the seventh spot.
Chasing 155, the Super Kings got off to a great start as Dwayne Smith flayed the Bangalore attack. He scored 34 runs off only 17 balls, including four fours and one six, as the 50-run mark came up in only 24 balls. He put on 57 runs for the first wicket with du Plessis, before Ravi Rampaul (1-21) snapped him up in the fifth over.
Du Plessis carried on though, and despite Suresh Raina (18) falling relatively cheaply, did not let the tempo die down because Chennai too were chasing run-rate today with the second qualifier spot up for grabs.
It could be seen in the haste shown by skipper Dhoni as he came in to bat at number four, ahead of David Hussey, and then stroked his way to unbeaten 49 runs off 28 balls without taking the chase to its ceremonious last over.
He hit four fours and three sixes, while du Plessis scored 54 not out off 43 balls, with three fours and three sixes, as the duo put on an unbroken 75-run stand for the third wicket and defied any hopes of Bangalore finishing their season with a win. Yuvraj Singh (1-30) was the other wicket-taker.
Earlier, Chennai won the toss and elected to field first. Chris Gayle was dropped from the playing eleven owing to his poor form and Rilee Rossouw (1) opened the innings with Yogesh Takawale (19). It didn’t make much difference though as Bangalore made another poor start.
Vijay Zol (13) was sent up the order, but he too didn’t last long enough as the hosts found themselves reeling at 33 for three in the sixth over.
It brought skipper Kohli to the crease and he was joined by Yuvraj in the middle. Together they put on 55 runs for the fourth wicket and carried Bangalore out of the hole, even though the scoring rate never got too uncomfortable for Chennai.
The 50-run mark came up only in the 10th over, while their fifty partnership came off 43 balls. They did accelerate afterwards, but only after losing Yuvraj in the 14th over, caught off Ravindra Jadeja (1-14).
He scored 25 runs off 24 balls, with two fours. At the other end, Kohli reached his fifty off 40 balls, hitting one four and three sixes. Along with AB de Villiers (10), he tried to enhance the scoring rate in the final overs, and they put up 42 runs for the fifth wicket.
Kohli did all the work in that partnership as he hit 23 more runs off the next nine balls he faced, with one more four and two more sixes. He was out in the final over, scoring 73 runs in all off 49 balls, as Bangalore posted a not-too-tough target for their opponents.
Ashish Nehra (3-33) was Chennai’s best bowler with Ravichandran Ashwin (1-33) and Mohit Sharma (1-16) also picking a wicket each.
© Cricket World 2014