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Chennai Super Kings hold their nerve to defeat plucky Rajasthan Royals
By IPL desk
Mumbai 21 April 2012
The Chennai Super Kings held their nerves brilliantly at the end to beat the Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets. With two required off the last ball to win, MS Dhoni stayed calm to see the home side through in a closely contested encounter in Chennai.
Chasing a modest target of 147, the Super Kings began their chase in aggressive fashion. Faf du Plessis continued his good form with the bat as he hit Stuart Binny for three boundaries in the second over of the innings. The momentum was with the home side, but the Royals did well to pull things back to a certain extent. Wickets were the key for RR, and their persistence paid off after Subramaniam Badrinath (15) was stumped off a Brad Hogg delivery.
CSK needed a partnership to steady the ship, and it came in the form of du Plessis and Suresh Raina. The duo put on a wonderful show of controlled hitting as CSK began to dominate proceedings. But CSK’s grip on the match loosened after Kevon Cooper dismissed both set batsmen in the 17th over. Du Plesssis (73) nicked one to the wicketkeeper, while Raina (26) got more height than distance as he holed out at long-on. At 117 for three, the home side was suddenly feeling the pressure to score quickly. With eight required off the last over, Stuart Binny bowled well to restrict MS Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo. But the home side eventually got over the line, scoring the required two runs off the last ball.
The Rajasthan Royals began their innings on a positive note. Openers Rahul Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane looked like they were in the middle for a long time. The right-handed duo looked at ease; often caressing the ball to the boundary. But the Super Kings bounced back after Ravichandran Ashwin got the better of Rahane (15). Dravid, on the other hand, used all his experience to keep the scoreboard ticking. The 39-year-old was constantly on the lookout for quick runs. But Shadab Jakati ensured that his stint at the crease didn’t last long. The left-armer induced a false shot from Dravid (26) after he mistimed one to the long-off fielder.
Owais Shah (52) and Ashok Menaria (36) took on the mantle from the RR openers as the duo played sensibly to score at a healthy rate. Their 92-run partnership set the foundation for the Royals to push on at the end. But some disciplined bowling from the home side, especially Nuwan Kulasekara, ensured that RR were restricted to 146 for four in 20 overs.
Gayle, de Villiers star in Royal Challengers Bangalore’s triumph over Kings XI Punjab
By IPL desk
Mumbai 21 April 2012
Although they posted their highest total of the season, Kings XI Punjab lost their second consecutive match at home. The hosts were comprehensively beaten by the Royal Challengers Bangalore by five wickets at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium. With a 131-run partnership, the highest in IPL 2012 so far, Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers guided the visitors to their third win of the season.
RCB bowlers backed their skipper’s decision to bowl first by picking up key wickets. Debutant Nitin Saini’s off-stump was shaken by Zaheer Khan, who came round the wicket to the opener and got an inside edge that dislodged the bails. In his next over, the left-arm pacer sent back Paul Valthaty. The opener went for a shot over mid-off only to find AB de Villers, who had handed the wicketkeeping gloves to KB Arun Karthik for this match.
A couple of overs later, Shaun Marsh was castled by Andrew McDonald, who had replaced Tillakaratne Dilshan in the side. In absence of Adam Gilchrist, who missed the game due a hamstring injury, it was crucial for the in-form Shaun Marsh to stay at the crease. The No.3 batsman once again looked in good nick as he timed the ball well on the way to his 17-ball 26 that included a six over McDonald’s head earlier in the innings. With three wickets down for 57 runs, David Miller came out to join the stand-in captain, David Hussey, who is one of the most experienced campaigners in Twenty20 cricket. But McDonald, who bowled his quota on the trot, sent back the debutant in his last over to finish with two wickets.
Running out of time, Hussey decided to go after Harshal Patel and was dropped by Chris Gayle, who was running backwards, off the second ball. But after conceding 11 runs off the first five balls, the bowler uprooted Hussey’s middle stump off the last ball of the same over.
With five overs left and five men down and 105 runs on the board, Azhar Mahmood came to the crease and bludgeoned RCB’s attack. Playing his first game in the IPL, the 37-year-old breathed life into the host’s innings with a 14-ball 33-run cameo. He smashed Patel for a four over mid-off and six over square-leg as KXIP collected 13 runs off that over. In the next over, Mahmood hit Vinay Kumar for a couple of boundaries.
The hosts picked 14 runs off that over. Though Zaheer Khan was not smashed around like his teammates, he conceded 10 runs in the penultimate over. Bowling the last over, Vinay dismissed Mandeep Singh off the first ball, but Mahmood and Piyush Chawal gleaned 14 runs off it.
Defending 163, Parvinder Awana dealt a double blow in the second over claiming Mayank Agarwal and Virat Kohli to leave RCB reeling at eight for two. Bowling a tight spell, the pacer struck again three overs later to send back Saurabh Tiwary. After Tiwary top-edged only to find the keeper’s gloves, de Villiers joined Chris Gayle at the crease. Although they were three wickets down, the visitors still had two of their best batsmen at the crease. The duo went about the task meticulously milking runs off the KXIP bowlers, and they ensured that they didn’t lose any more wickets before putting their side in a dominating position.
The home team failed to capitalize on the early breakthroughs, and RCB cruised towards the target with ease. Although he didn’t smash the bowlers early on, Gayle he did play big shots later to keep the pressure on the home team. He was ably supported by de Villiers, who scored prolifically at the other end. Even as the visitors inched towards the victory, Awana inserted drama into the game with the wicket of Chris Gayle to finish with a four-for, while Chawla trapped de Villiers (52 off 39 balls) lbw in the 19th over. Before being caught by Hussey at extra-cover, Gayle hit 87 (4x6, 8x4) off 56 balls.
McDonald and Vettori then took RCB across the line with the former hitting a boundary off Mahmood to seal the win.