The MCA Stadium, Pune hosted the much-anticipated encounter between Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 35th match of IPL 2018. CSK proved to be too strong for RCB and swooped the match in rather comfortably to affirm their position on top of the points table.
Just like most other games, MS Dhoni won the toss and elected to field first. RCB suffered an early blow when the opener Brendon McCullum was dismissed by Lungi Ngidi for 5 in the 2nd over. Parthiv Patel, playing his first game of the season, replaced Quinton de Kock at the opener’s slot. The left-hander absorbed the pressure well at the top and scored freely.
He found the company of the skipper Virat Kohli who was a little subdued in the beginning. But Parthiv struck some good boundaries and took the score to 47/1 at the end of the powerplay. It was important for the duo to continue the run-flow to build a foundation for the middle-order.
The Turning Point
The batting of RCB is heavily dependent on the pair of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. The captain had played second fiddle to Parthiv in the powerplay and was slowly getting into his groove. But the left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja came into the attack in the 7th over and he broke the hearts of the RCB fans with just the first ball he bowled.
A straight and fast delivery, that measured over 100 kmph, foxed Kohli and disturbed his woodwork. He had to walk back after scoring 8 off 14 balls. All eyes were on de Villiers from that point onwards as the batsmen that were to follow him weren’t as reliable as him.
The South African had faced just 3 deliveries and he went for a reverse sweep against Harbhajan Singh in the 8th over. Harbhajan. the canny bowler that he is, slipped one down the leg side and the batsman failed to make contact. In the process, he left his crease and that’s criminal to do when Dhoni guards the stumps. The wicketkeeper removed the bails in a flash and de Villiers was found short of his crease. His departure for 1 proved to be a terrible blow for RCB who failed to recover.
Southee’s cameo took RCB to a fighting total
After the dismissal of the dream pair, CSK was all over the RCB batsmen. Parthiv held one end while the others fell like nine pins. The opener brought up his half-century and was solely holding the fort from one end. But he got out after scoring 53 and very soon, the visitors were reduced to 92/8 after 16 overs.
They were in a serious danger of being bowled out without achieving the 3-figure mark. But Tim Southee proved to be the savior and his cameo of 36 off 26 propelled RCB to 127/9 from 20 overs. It was not a hugely daunting total yet the bowlers had something to bowl at.
Dhoni magic again
In reply, CSK was rocked back early when Umesh Yadav castled Shane Watson for 11 in the 3rd over. The in-form batsman Ambati Rayudu combined well with Suresh Raina and the duo added 44 runs for the 2nd wicket. RCB was in a dire need of a breakthrough as the game was slipping away.
Umesh struck again by removing Raina and Murugan Ashwin accounted for the wicket of Rayudu to pull back things a little. The debutant Dhruv Shorey too fell soon and all of a sudden, a bit of pressure was applied on CSK. But MS Dhoni was still at the crease and he ensured the pressure was transferred back. His knock of 36 from 26 took the side past the line with 2 overs to spare.
Chennai Super Kings won the toss and opted to bowl first
Royal Challengers Bangalore: 127/9 in 20 overs
Parthiv Patel 53 (41), Tim Southee 36* (26)
Ravindra Jadeja 18/3 (4), Harbhajan Singh 22/2 (4)
Chennai Super Kings: 128/4 in 20 overs
Ambati Rayudu 32 (25), MS Dhoni 31* (23)
Umesh Yadav 15/2 (3), Colin de Grandhomme 16/1 (4)
Chennai Super Kings won by 6 wickets
Player of the Match: Ravindra Jadeja