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The Rajasthan Royals registered a six-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore, after getting the opposition out for a measly 70. Aided by Pravin Tambe’s four-for, the Royals maintained a stranglehold on the RCB batters, who looked clueless on a track that turned out to be a bowler’s paradise. RR then successfully attained the target with six wickets in hand and seven overs to spare.
Earlier, Shane Watson chose to have first crack at the RCB batsmen upon winning the toss on a green Abu Dhabi track. The decision paid off almost immediately as Stuart Binny got rid of Yogesh Takawale (0) on the fourth ball of the innings. And then, Parthiv Patel (1) was run-out off the very next delivery, leaving RCB on one for two in the first over itself. The RR bowlers had their tails up, thanks to the early breakthroughs, and they made the situation worse for their opponents. Kane Richardson dismissed Yuvraj Singh off the first ball of the third over of the RCB innings (3). Richardson made it two in two when he cleaned up AB de Villiers (0) off the next ball he bowled.
At five for four, RCB were staring down the barrel and needed a valuable partnership to steer them out of trouble. Amidst the collapse, Virat Kohli was joined by Sachin Rana at the other end. And just when it seemed like the RCB skipper had found a reliable partner, Shane Watson sent him back to the dugout; Rana (3) was bowled out in the sixth over with the scorecard reading 17 for five. And 11 runs later, Kohli lost yet another ally in Albie Morkel (7); the middle-order batsman handed Steve Smith a skier off the bowling of Pravin Tambe.
Thereafter, Kohli and Mitchell Starc tried to dig RCB out of a hole. Despite all the pressure exerted by the RR bowlers, they struck the odd-boundary to keep the scoreboard ticking. However, Tambe halted their 18-run stand – the highest of the innings – with the big wicket of Kohli (21). Then, Starc (18) departed in Rajat Bhatia’s only over of the innings, leaving RCB on 62 for eight. Ravi Rampaul (13) and Ashok Dinda then added eight runs for the ninth wicket, until the former became Tambe’s third victim. And three balls later, the 42-year-old leg-spinner ended the RCB innings by trapping Dinda (0) leg-before.
Thanks to Tambe (4-0-20-4) and Richardson’s (4-0-18-2) efforts – which were complemented by the other five RR bowlers – the Royal Challengers could only manage a total of 70 runs by the time they were bowled out at the end of 15 overs.
RR’s response was fuelled by Ajinkya Rahane, who took charge of proceedings early on. The right-handed opener lashed out at any loose deliveries along with rotating the strike with Karun Nair. However, Rahane (23) departed with the RR score on 31 in the fifth over. Sanju Samson – the next man in – was then run-out in the next over. With a slight momentum shift, Starc returned to dismiss Nair (8) in the seventh over of the innings with the score on 36.
But despite these hiccups, there was no twist in this tale as Abhishek Nayar (8*) and Shane Watson (24) steadily chipped away at the target. And while Watson got out with his team three runs adrift of the target in the 13th over, Stuart Binny (3*) took RR over the line off the very next ball. The Royals ended up winning by a six-wicket margin with seven overs to spare.
Man of the Match: Pravin Tambe for his game-changing four-wicket haul
The Chennai Super Kings registered a seven-wicket win over the Mumbai Indians in Match 12 of Pepsi IPL 2014. Thanks to Mohit Sharma’s four-for, CSK held MI down to 141 for seven in their 20 overs. Then, led by Brendon McCullum (71*), the Men in Yellow scripted a comfortable chase against the defending champions at Dubai.
Rohit Sharma won the toss and chose to bat first earlier in the evening. However, MI opener Michael Hussey’s (1) subpar form continued as he got out in the second over, off Ben Hilfenhaus. Aditya Tare (23), meanwhile, lashed out in the early overs, but even his innings came to an abrupt halt just when it was taking shape; Mohit Sharma dismissed him to leave MI on 25 for two in 4.4 overs. Due to these early setbacks, the Indians were able to post only 31 runs in the powerplay.
Corey Anderson and Rohit Sharma then set about the task of bringing the MI innings back on track. They started going after loose deliveries once they got their eye in. Both batters pitched in almost equally as they brought up the team 100 in the 15th over. However, just when it looked like Anderson (39) and Sharma’s charge was going to go unchecked, the former was run-out by Ashwin. The third-wicket pair added 84 runs before getting separated.
The fall of Anderson’s wicket shifted the momentum dramatically in CSK’s favour as the MI innings went off track from that point forward.
Hilfenhaus got rid of Rohit Sharma (50) in the 18th over with the scorecard reading 123 for four. Mohit Sharma, who bowled the 19th over, then dealt a triple-blow. The CSK pacer got rid of Ambati Rayudu (1) off the first ball of the over. He then dismissed the dangerous Kieron Pollard (12) off the fourth ball, and off the final delivery of that over, he sent Harbhajan Singh (0) packing. This middle-order collapse saw MI lose four wickets for four runs in the space of eight balls.
While CM Gautam (7*) and Zaheer Khan (7*) tried to get their team to a challenging total, 141 for seven was all they could amass in their allotted 20 overs.
For CSK, Mohit Sharma was the star performer; his four overs went for 14 runs and accounted for four wickets. While Hilfenhaus claimed two scalps, Ishwar Pandey and R Ashwin bowled at a sub-six economy rate over their four-over spells.
In response, Dwayne Smith launched the CSK innings in grand fashion. He struck three early sixes while ensuring the pressure was squarely on the MI bowlers. Even Brendon McCullum joined in the action as CSK scored 51 runs in the powerplay. But almost immediately, Corey Anderson took a tough running catch off Pragyan Ojha’s bowling to get rid of Smith (29). And then, Harbhajan Singh had Suresh Raina (1) stumped in the next over to bring MI back in the game.
But McCullum, who scored yet another half-century, and Faf du Plessis had other ideas. The duo stitched together a valuable 53-run partnership, which saw them survive a few chances at critical junctures. And after surviving one such chance off Harbhajan Singh’s bowling, du Plessis (20) was eventually stumped off the off-spinner. But despite this breakthrough, there was no respite for MI as MS Dhoni took guard opposite McCullum. Both CSK batters struck timely boundaries to bring the required run-rate down to four-and-a-half by the 19th over. And then, McCullum (71*) took CSK past the finish line as Dhoni (14*) remained unbeaten at the other end. The Super Kings achieved the target by a seven-wicket margin and with an over to spare.
Man of the Match: Mohit Sharma for his four-wicket haul