Defending champions Chennai Super Kings once again proved their mettle as they edged Royal Challengers Bangalore in a match that saw more than 400 runs scored. Chasing 206, the CSK batsmen hit 45 runs off the last two overs, including a boundary off the last ball, to deliver a nerve-wracking win for the home team.
The first innings of this match followed a similar pattern to the 2011 IPL final between the two teams. In 2011, CSK were powered to a score of 205 by their top three batsman, with Murali Vijay’s 95 being the highlight of that innings; RCB posted an identical score today, though with Mayank Agarwal,Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli contributing in almost equal measure.
Agarwal was the early aggressor for the visitors as he launched into Ravichandran Ashwin – the offspinner was carted around the MA Chidambaram stadium for 34 runs off his first three overs. Having helped RCB past the 50-run mark in just 4.5 overs, Agarwal (45 off 26) perished in the sixth over when he top-edged an Albie Morkel delivery straight to Dwayne Bravo at mid-on.
Gayle, who had faced just seven deliveries at the end of the sixth over, then took charge of the RCB innings. The West Indies batsman smashed Suresh Raina for three sixes in the ninth over after which he lofted Shadab Jakati over the boundary rope for consecutive DLF maximums in the 14th over.
With the visitors having raced away to 161 for the loss of Agarwal’s wicket at the end of 16 overs, MS Dhoni introduced Ravindra Jadeja into the attack. Dhoni’s gamble worked as Jadeja snared Gayle (68 off 35, 2x4, 6x6) into playing a lofted shot straight into the hands of Bravo standing in the outfield.
Kohli, who was batting on 38 (off 37 balls) at the fall of Gayle’s wicket, provided the final flourish to the RCB innings. The No. 3 batsman plundered 19 off the last nine deliveries faced by him and with R Vinay Kumar (6*) hitting Doug Bollinger’s last ball of the innings for a six, RCB managed to push their score up to 205 despite losing some quick wickets at the end.
Needing more than 10 runs an over to win, CSK pulled off a sensational run chase. Faf du Plessis scored a blustery 46-ball 71 at the top of the order, while MS Dhoni, batting at No. 4, hit 41 off 24, to leave the hosts requiring 43 off the last two overs.
Albie Morkel, coming in to bat at the start of the 19th over, then turned the game decisively in CSK’s favour. Morkel hit Virat Kohli for 4, 6, 4, 6, 2 and 6 to help the defending champions to within 15 runs of the target with the last over still to be bowled. And even though Morkel (28 off seven) was out caught in the deep off the second delivery of the last over, Dwayne Bravo (25* off 15) hit a four and a six while Ravindra Jadeja edged a boundary down to third-man off the last ball to help CSK record a memorable five-wicket win against the visitors.