IPL: Dhoni, Rayudu raze down 206 in blaze of sixes


Chennai Super Kings 207 for 5 (Rayudu 82, MS Dhoni 70*) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 205 for 8 (De Villiers 68, De Kock 53, Bravo 2-33) by five wickets

MS Dhoni took a special liking to Pawan Negi’s loopy left-arm spin BCCI

Chennai Super Kings picked up their fifth victory through thunderous performances from two heroes – Ambati Rayudu and MS Dhoni – in an explosive performance where they made nearly half the target of 206 with the 17 balls that flew over the ropes at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.

On an evening where Super Kings were good with the ball, they still found themselves more than 200, but the perfect switch came when, after falling to 74 for 4 in nine overs, they completed a win with two balls to spare.

The sub-plot, once more, was that Royal Challengers didn’t have the bowling to defend the runs their batsmen scored. They had seven bowling options on the night and their two best bowlers bowled out their overs for a combined 3 for 49. The two other spinners were given a combined four overs, the better bowler of their two allrounders didn’t have a bowl, and, yet again, a glaring lack of a death-overs plan resulted in an embarrassing collapse.

The top does it again for RCB

By the time Super Kings had got into the third over after electing to bowl, Virat Kohli had figured out his method against the opening bowlers – short strides against Deepak Chahar’s swing, a few steps down and at Shardul Thakur – and had begun exchanging notes with Quinton de Kock who was aggressively gesturing how Thakur’s knuckle ball was coming out.

Both teams had gone with three spinners on a damp evening, a move that seemed mysterious when de Kock stepped out and launched Harbhajan Singh over long-on from outside off.

Thakur managed to pull it back momentarily with a quite remarkable feat – a wicket maiden off a T20 over faced by Kohli and de Villiers – but the bleeding wouldn’t stop. De Kock and de Villiers, together, put up 103 for the second wicket from there in under nine overs, starting with a 16-run punishment off three balls that took Harbhajan out for the rest of the innings.

When the ball lost its shine, there did appear to be grip from the surface. But the South African duo weren’t averse to using their feet to move laterally in the crease or down the pitch to open up the field. With their abilities to clear the ground in tow, that proved vital, because the spinners were forced into bowling faster than they should have been.

Mighty fall

The next breakthrough, the wicket of de Kock, also came in a maiden over. It might even have been a double-wicket maiden had Super Kings reviewed an lbw decision where Bravo got Corey Anderson on the back leg off a full toss. It didn’t do too much damage though – the very next over, Imran Tahir produced two. De Villiers and Anderson, off consecutive deliveries.

Suddenly, it was a nightmare pitch. Super Kings could’ve had Mandeep Singh the following ball but just like the batsman, Dhoni failed to anticipate a spitting turner from Ravindra Jadeja and couldn’t get his hand on a stumping opportunity. What followed was a six over midwicket and a reverse-swept four to get Mandeep going. A missed opportunity and Royal Challengers looked like they would capitalise.

But another collapse came. Royal Challengers lost seven wickets in the last five overs and played out two maiden overs in the innings. They didn’t have the bowling to afford such mishaps.  (Excerpt from ESPNcricinfo)


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