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It was vintage Mahi who rolled back the years and smashed a match-winning knock of 70 of 34 deliveries as Chennai Super Kings continued their winning run by defeating the Royal Challengers Bangalore by 5 wickets and with a couple of deliveries to spare. Ambati Rayudu also played a special knock of 81 before getting run out. However, Dhoni made sure Chennai reached the big target of 205 in the 4the delivery of the final over.
Earlier in the day, it was a sensational knock from AB de Villiers which propelled Bangalore to a mammoth score of 68 of 30 deliveries. The score of 205 was 15-20 runs above par as told by Mahendra Singh Dhoni. However a scintillating display of batsmanship by Rayudu, Dhoni, and Bravo at the end which helped Chennai win a close encounter.
It was Chennai Super Kings Kings skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni who won the toss and put the hosts in. Skipper Virat Kohli and Quinton de Kock began proceedings. Both the batsmen began well by smashing a couple of exquisite shots before Kohli had to head back to the pavilion. It was Shardul Thakur who provided the all-important breakthrough for the visitors.
De Villiers smashed 68 of 30 deliveries
From there on it as an exhibition of strokeplay by AB de Villiers which really blew away the Chennai bowlers. He struck some audacious shots. De Kock and de Villiers shared a big partnership of 103 runs which was one of the main reasons behind Bangalore reaching a total of 204. De Kock struck a four and four sixes during his knock of 53.
Dwayne Bravo brought about his downfall as he bamboozled him with a well directed slower delivery. The bowler completed a straightforward return catch. AB de Villiers was dismissed soon after as his countrymen Imran Tahir foxed him with a well-flighted delivery. Corey Anderson was dismissed in the very next delivery as Tahir lured him into a drive and the southpaw gave a simple catch to slip fielder Harbhajan Singh.
Chasing a huge total, Chennai didn’t really begin the way they would have wanted. It was Pawan Negi who ended the resistance of Shane Watson in the very first over. However, Ambati Rayudu looked in supreme touch and struck some delightful shots. Raina on the other hand also got off to a fluent start smashing a couple of deliveries. However, he was dismissed by Umesh Yadav after the score reached 50.
Sam Billings and Ravindra Jadeja couldn’t make a mark either as both were dismissed by Yuzvendra Chahal. The leg-spinner bowled brilliantly and never allowed Chennai to go after his flighted deliveries. He bagged a couple of wickets for just 26 runs in his 4 over spell. It was special given the fact that both teams made over 200.
Dhoni and Rayudu turns it on
From there on it was a sensational partnership between skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Ambati Rayudu which turned the match on its head. Rayudu struck some terrific shots. However, it was Dhoni who gave the much-needed impetus with some exceptional blows. He began with a six in the 2nd delivery he faced from Pawan Negi.
He smashed one more in the very next over of Corey Anderson and subsequently smashed Negi for two more sixes in the very next over. Rayudu then smashed a couple of lusty blows to bring the calculation down to 31 of 13. However, he was dismissed run out for the 3rd time in the tournament. It was a sensational direct hit from Umesh Yadav from the boundary which sent him back to the pavilion.
Dhoni was joined by Dwayne Bravo on the other end. However, Dhoni was still the main man. Mohammed Sirja bowled a horrendous 19th over where he conceded 14 runs and gave away 3 wides. The sliced six from Dhoni was simply out of the world.
The final over
The final over was handed over to Corey Anderson. However, Bravo got an outside edge which went flying over the keeper for a boundary. He smashed a six over the extra cover region in the very next delivery. The 3rd delivery was a single and it was left to Dhoni to finish off the job. The skipper did it in style as he shuffled across the stumps and deposited a length delivery straight over the mid-wicket boundary.
Here is what Dhoni, also the Man of the Match said at the post-match presentation
“I thought when we had the innings break this was difficult to chase because when I was keeping, I felt AB batted well to get them to 200 runs and it was tough to score. I thought it was 15-20 beyond par score. The key for us was the two left-handers but we lost them early. Just had to hang around there.”
This is a small ground, ball travels and there was just a bit of dew and it worked in our favour. Rayudu batted really well. Got a very good partnership and then Bravo striking at the end, overall it went perfectly according to the script. Not exactly as we had planned, but still the script was good. This was a slightly slowish wicket and that’s why AB’s knock was special. It wasn’t an easy wicket, it was not a wicket where you could bat like that credit to him. Happy that people are chipping in for us and we are chasing down big totals and at the same time it is a good exposure for some of our death bowlers.”
“Shardul will get better. The more he is under the pump, the better he will get as the tournament progresses. It’s important to know what the overs that are left and who will bowl the death overs, who is their best bowler on that particular wicket and who you can take on. You may win or lose, but it’s about getting the process right. Not everybody knows what kind of a game is theirs and what really is their strength.”
I feel that’s what the job of the finisher is. You will score runs with the experience you have got, but if you can help the other batsman with what to play, run quicker between the wickets, tell what the bowler could do with his batting style etc. All these things really matter. It’s not just about me batting at the death. Sharing the experience with the youngsters or whoever is batting and helping them getting the score is key because tomorrow I may not be batting with him or I may get out, he needs to do the job. Rayudu’s batting is very important for us, he keeps the scoreboard moving.”