The Chennai Super Kings romped home by eight wickets while chasing the 155-run target set by the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Fuelled by Faf du Plessis (54*) and MS Dhoni’s (49*) timely knocks, the Men in Yellow did not flinch during a very fluent run-chase. While CSK have already qualified for the Pepsi IPL 2014 Playoffs, this sizable win would definitely help their net run-rate as the second spot in the league standings is still up for grabs.
Earlier, CSK asked RCB to bat first and dealt an early blow as Ashish Nehra cleaned up Rilee Rossouw in the first over itself. And while Yogesh Takawale and Vijay Zol tried to stabilise the innings, they also had to return to the dugout after making brief contributions. While R Ashwin trapped Takawale (19) leg-before in the fifth over, Zol (13) was dismissed by Mohit Sharma just before the powerplay ended, leaving RCB on 34 for three in 5.4 overs.
Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh then came together and took their team’s score to 56 at the halfway stage. The pair then stepped on the pedal and went after any loose offerings from the CSK bowlers while also picking regular singles and twos. However, Yuvraj (25) fell prey to Jadeja in the 14th over. AB de Villiers then paired up with his skipper, and thanks to their efforts, the RCB 100 came up in the 15th over of the innings, thereby setting a decent platform for both set batsmen to launch off.
They did continue scoring at a fair clip in an attempt to set CSK a challenging total .In fact, Kohli even brought up his half-century with a four off Ashwin in the 17th over. But he lost de Villiers’ company in the next over as Nehra returned to clean up the South African batsman in the next over. Sachin Rana (5*) then came to bat with the scorecard reading 130 for five in 17.4 overs. He held up one end as Kohli (73) piled on the runs at the other. However, the RCB captain was dismissed in the final over by Nehra, as RCB scored 154 for six in their 20 overs.
Dwayne Smith and Faf du Plessis then gave CSK a flying start. After a relatively quiet first over, the dashing duo plundered 15, 15 and 18 runs off the second, third and fourth overs respectively. In the process they also took their team past the 50-run mark. And while the home team caught a break when Smith’s (34) 17-ball cameo came to an end in the fifth over, CSK still posted 64 runs in the powerplay as du Plessis was joined by Suresh Raina. The second-wicket pair added 28 runs, before Yuvraj had Raina (18) stumped against the run of play. And by the halfway mark, RCB had managed pull CSK back a bit with the scorecard reflecting 87 for two.
But du Plessis continued to capitalise on the good start he had got, and along with MS Dhoni, he soon brought up the CSK 100 in the 14th over. Even the CSK skipper cranked it up a notch and played a key role in scoring 22 runs off the 16th over of the innings. Thanks to that onslaught, CSK needed just 21 runs off the final 24 balls. They then knocked off the remaining runs in just 10 deliveries, as du Plessis (53*) struck the winning six, which also brought up his half-century. Meanwhile, Dhoni (49*), whose 28-ball knock saw him strike four fours and three sixes, barely missed out on a fifty.
As a result, CSK have 18 points from their 14 games. While they are currently placed second in the points table, the outcome of the KKR-SRH game will decide who among the Super Kings and Knight Riders ends up in the top two, along with KXIP, who have already clinched the top spot.
Man of the Match: MS Dhoni for his match-winning performance