[www.inewsguyana.com] – Chasing a 139-run target on a slow Ranchi wicket against the Chennai Super Kings, the Royal Challengers Bangalore got over the line with five wickets in hand and one ball to spare.
Led by an innings-steadying knock by Chris Gayle and handy contributions by the likes of Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Yuvraj Singh, the visitors pulled off a final-over thriller.
CSK won the toss earlier, and chose to bat first. Brendon McCullum (19) came out all guns blazing for the home team; he struck a six off Muttiah Muralitharan in the first over of the innings to announce himself.
However, after scoring the lion’s share of the 29 runs put up by the first-wicket pair, the Kiwi opener was dismissed by Varun Aaron in the fifth over. And two balls later, Aaron also sent Dwayne Smith (9) back to the dugout.
Suresh Raina and CSK’s latest inductee, David Hussey, then came together. The pair played cautiously as the RCB spinners bowled a very probing line. They brought up the CSK 50 in the ninth over, and by the halfway stage, they had taken their team’s total to 55 for two.
They then picked up the scoring rate a bit and brought up the CSK 100 in the 15th over. However, soon after that, Muralitharan got rid of Hussey (25). His dismissal brought MS Dhoni (7) in the middle. But he could not make a big impact on his home ground and fell prey to Abu Nechim in the 17th over.
Raina (62*), meanwhile, completed his half-century and remained unbeaten till the end. With Ravindra Jadeja (10*) for company, the southpaw managed to take the CSK score to a hard-fought 138 for four after 20 overs on a slow track. For RCB, Starc and Nechim bowled their four overs at sub-six economy-rates, while Aaron, who was taken for a few runs, picked up two crucial wickets.
RCB’s response began in a circumspect manner, given that the CSK spinners were taking advantage of the turn on offer from the get go. Even the destructive Chris Gayle was successfully tamed by the tweakers at the onset. And soon, R Ashwin capitalised on the pressure mounting on the RCB batters by dismissing Parthiv Patel (10) in the fourth over.
The visitors could only score 18 runs in the powerplay. But Chris Gayle then broke the shackles with a big hit over long-on in the seventh over. Even Virat Kohli got in on the action as the duo scored 15 runs off that over. But after the momentary boost, the spinners again pulled down the run-rate; and after the 10th over, RCB were at 45 for one.
And while the second-wicket pair added a handy 61 runs, Kohli (27) was stumped by Dhoni off the bowling of Jadeja in the 15th over. However, Gayle unleashed thereafter – he struck Jadeja for a four and a maximum to top off that over. At that point, RCB were still 53 runs adrift of their target. Then, thanks to an AB de Villiers maximum, the Royal Challengers plundered 10 runs off the next over – bowled by Hussey.
de Villiers and Gayle (46) struck a six each in the next over – off Ashwin – before the latter was cleaned up off the final delivery.
With the run-chase equation reading, 29 off 18, RCB needed a couple of big shots, and they got those courtesy de Villiers (28). The RCB batsman played a key role in plundering 15 runs off Hussey’s next over, but he was dismissed off the last ball. And then, Jadeja conceded just four runs off the 19th over to set up a thrilling finish where RCB needed 10 off the final six deliveries.
In a surprise move, Dhoni then handed the ball to Hussey, who was struck for a six off his first ball by Yuvraj Singh (13*). The left-hander then struck a double and a one to level the scores with three balls to spare.
But Hussey got rid of Sachin Rana off the next delivery to add drama to the proceedings. However, Nechim (6*) picked the bowler for a half-dozen over long-on to seal a win for RCB with one ball to spare.
Man of the match award was given AB de Villiers for his 14-ball 28-run blitz, which included three sixes and a four.