VENUE: JHARKHAND STATE CRICKET ASSOCIATION STADIUM, RANCHI
RESULT: CHENNAI SUPER KINGS WON BY 3 WICKETS
MAN OF THE MATCH: ASHISH NEHRA
The Super Kings, in skipper Dhoni’s hometown sneaked past the Royal Challengers Bangalore in a complete thriller of a game. This game was an ideal low scoring thriller filled with moments of anxiety and excitement. Dhoni won the toss and had absolutely no hesitation in bowling first. Dhoni was clearly aware about the due playing its part in the latter half of the game.
The Royal Challengers began slowly as the two openers were in the process of adjusting to the slow wicket of Ranchi. In the fifth over, Kohli flicked a Nehra delivery, only to be cunningly caught by Mohit Sharma at short fine leg. More than anyone else, Dhoni should be given the due credit for that wicket as placing a short fine leg for Kohli was a risk which paid off.
In the fifth over itself, AB De Villiers got a tough call as he was declared out LBW on a delivery which was marginally pitched in leg. The South African was clearly disappointed. Against the likes of Ashwin and co, Gayle struggled big time and Ashwin utilized the two paced nature of the pitch to the core. He got the ball to turn viciously and hit the right patches.
Mandeep Singh then played a rash slog off Ashwin only to be caught by Mike Hussey. The Royal Challengers were all at sea in Ranchi before Gayle and Karthik got together and milked the singles. In the 14th over, Gayle hit the first two balls of Raina’s over for big sixes. Gayle hoped to make it three in a row, only to get an edge and be caught by Raina.
The protagonist for the Royal Challengers was teenager Sarfaraz Khan who displayed his talented batting skills yet again. In the end, the Royal Challengers did extremely well to get to 139.
Dwayne Smith’s indifferent IPL continued as he was dismissed in the fourth over by Srinath Aravind. In that very over, Chris Gayle dropped a sitter at slip and Faf Du Plessis was given a lifeline. A dropped catch and a missed stumping opportunity by Dinesh Karthik didn’t help the men in red at all. Dinesh Karthik was simply lethargic behind the wickets and missed several opportunities.
Chahal turned the game around on its head with his twin strikes as he got rid of Faf and Raina in the same over. Raina once again went for a biggie as soon as he entered the arena, only to be caught. He surely needs to work out on his mindset.
The evergreen Mike Hussey and captain cool MS Dhoni got together to rescue the Super Kings. Two sixes from Hussey in Chahal’s over gave Chennai the momentum. Hussey was eventually dismissed after playing a fine knock of 56. Dhoni continued the rescue effort with Pawan Negi, who surely was precious for Chennai.
Dhoni’s boundary off Starc in the penultimate over shifted the balance towards Chennai. With five needed off the last over, it was a no brainer to back the Super Kings. With just one needed off three, Dhoni was caught behind while trying the run the ball down. Ashwin though, took a single off his first ball to finish the game.
Dhoni’s contribution was a massive difference. Yes, the man did struggle today and this was Dhoni not even at 50% of his efficiency, but he still did his job and won it for his team. A mouth watering final surely awaits the viewers. The two best sides in IPL history will battle it out for the third time at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.