MS Dhoni's CSK humble Virat Kohli's RCB with all-round show, claim top spot

Chennai Super Kings produced a clinical all-round show to humble Royal Challengers Bangalore by six wickets and claim the top spot.

Published: 24th September 2021 11:41 PM  |   Last Updated: 25th September 2021 08:46 AM   |  A+A-

Chennai Super Kings’ Ruturaj Gaikwad sends one to the fence against Royal Challengers Bangalore at Sharjah on Friday | PTI

Express News Service

CHENNAI: After the sandstorm delayed the start of the match by 15 minutes, Virat Kohli and Devdutt Padikkal ensured it carried on in the middle. The orange skyline in Sharjah was further ignited by the right-left combination and it was Royal Challengers Bangalore who looked red-hot. However, by the time darkness engulfed, it was Chennai Super Kings, who took charge and ensured the night belonged to them as they inched closer to play-offs courtesy a six-wicket win on Friday.

The end scoreline will not suggest so, but half-way through the first innings, it appeared only Bangalore had turned up for the tie. Chennai were not even in the picture as Bangalore had raced to 90/0 at the end of 10 overs. By then Kohli had 44 off 30 deliveries and Padikkal was on 43 off 30. The flattest of the three venues, in the 2020 edition, there were seven successful innings with totals of 200 and above as batsmen made most of the smaller boundaries. So with AB de Villiers, Glenn Maxwell and debutant Tim David — the big-hitting batsman from Singapore — to come, the signs were ominous for Chennai. Despite the lows of last season, they have seldom looked rattled and short of answers this time.

For some strange reason, instead of carrying on with the momentum, Bangalore decided to slow the tempo. Having scored at nine an over so far, Kohli and Padikkal took the foot off the pedal, and Chennai happily slipped in those quite deliveries. Even before Bangalore could realise, those quiet deliveries were turning into sedate overs. As Bangalore gave space Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, Dwayne Bravo and Shardul Thakur tightened the grip, giving away only 28 runs from overs 11-15 and removing Kohli (53).
The momentum was all but lost. At 118-1, with five overs to go, 200 looked distant. Still, Bangalore had the firepower to post a total that would be defendable on a track that was beginning to take turn. But Chennai were not going to give away the grip that easily. 

Bravo is at the twilight of his T20 career with the upcoming World Cup being billed as his swangsong. Age is not on his side and there are matches where he prefers others to do the job. At Chennai, he is still Dhoni’s trusted lieutenant to bowl at the death. His slower, menacing deliveries are still hard for batsmen to get under, and not to forget his variations. Two overs from him at the death had only one six, but more importantly had four dot balls that created pressure and, after removing Kohli in his first spell, had Maxwell too. Chahar and Thakur did their part at the other end.

Chasing 157 for win, Ruturaj Gaikwad (38) and Faf du Plessis (31) gave the start Chennai needed and their middle-order did the rest as they reached home at 18.1 overs.

Brief scores: RCB 156-6 in 20 ovs (Devdutt 70, Kohli 53, Bravo 3/24) lost to CSK 157-4 in 18.1 ovs (Ruturaj 38).


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