As Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli pointed out, MS Dhoni did what he does best in yet another nail-biting Chennai Super Kings’ chase at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday.
RCB had posted what seemed to be an under-par total of 161 for 7 in Bengaluru after being sent in to bat by CSK in Match 39 of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019. However, Dale Steyn and Umesh Yadav jolted CSK’s chase by picking up two wickets each in the powerplay overs and left the visitors reeling at 32 for 4 at the end of six overs in their 162-run chase.
However, CSK fans wouldn’t have lost hopes as MS Dhoni joined Ambati Rayudu in the middle. A familiar script followed. Dhoni help CSK rebuild after the early jolts. He has done this a million times before in his cricket career. More often than not, Dhoni perfectly calculates what would seem an improbable chase and take his team past the finish line.
However, on Sunday Dhoni and CSK ended up on the losing side not by much but just by 1 run. You read that right. RCB stayed in contention for the playoff spot winning yet another must-win match and taking their tally to six points from 10 matches despite MS Dhoni coming up with his IPL career-best score of 84 not.
Dhoni had hit 84 in just 48 balls and smashed 24 runs, including a 111-meter monstrous six in the final over, but it was still not enough for CSK in their last-over thriller.
Dhoni had denied taking two singles when Dwayne Bravo was at the non-striker’s end in the penultimate over of their chase. CSK then needed 26 runs from the last over to clinch an improbable win.
Umesh Yadav, who had been impressive in his earlier spell, conceded three sixes and two boundaries in the final over as MS Dhoni took the India pacer to the cleaners.
Chennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) April 21, 2019
It was one of the most destructive innings from Dhoni in the recent past but the CSK skipper missed a straight one when the visitors needed two runs from 1 ball. Dhoni tried to steal a single and force a Super Over but RCB wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel ran Shardul Thakur at the striker’s end.
More relieved than elated, RCB skipper Virat Kohli conceded MS Dhoni had given their team a massive scare with his blinder.
“A whole lot of emotion. We were outstanding with the ball until the 19th over mark. Defending 160 on that sort of pitch and the amount of dew we had was an outstanding effort. On the last ball, that was the last thing I would’ve expected to happen. Feels good to win a game by a small margin. We’ve lost a couple by small margins. MS did what he does best and he gave us all a massive scare,” Kohli said.
IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) April 21, 2019
Earlier in the day, Virat Kohli suffered a rare failure but Parthiv Patel (53 off 37 balls) scored a fifty to help RCB post 161 on the board. AB de Villiers (24 off 20 balls) and Moeen Ali (26 off 16 balls) came up with handy cameos after Deepak Chahar and Ravindra Jadeja restricted the scoring rate with four wickets between them.
Moeen Ali, it seemed, was held back a bit too much as the England batsman, who had smashed a match-winning 66 on Friday against Kolkata Knight Riders, came in at No. 6 after the likes of Marcus Stoinis and Akshdeep Nath.
Conceding Moeen should have been sent earlier, Kohli added: “Well looking at this game in hindsight, you can say Moeen should have batted higher. Having one game left for him in the season, he might come up and enjoy himself.
“In the first six overs, we thought the ball wasn’t coming onto the bat that much. Parthiv and AB [de Villiers] started to rebuild. At the halfway mark we thought 175 would’ve been a very good total on this pitch. We thought we were 15 short. We thought their bowlers didn’t make us play enough on the front foot.”
With six points from 10 matches, RCB are still in the race for the playoffs. Kohli’s men will next face Kings XI Punjab at home on April 24.