RCB’s campaign ends on disappointing note; Kohli the only shining light

The only change associated with Royal Challengers Bangalore on a packed Saturday evening here at the Chinnaswamy Stadium was linked to its attire. Clad in green, an annual ritual aimed at raising environment awareness, RCB found out that whatever be the shade of the jersey, there was no stopping its freefall.

In its last IPL match this season, RCB remained diffident, though skipper Virat Kohli (73) tried to stir up the contest. However, the host’s overall score of 154 for six proved inadequate against Chennai Super Kings. CSK arrested its three-match losing streak with an emphatic eight-wicket victory.

CSK openers Dwayne Smith and Faf du Plessis (54 n.o., 43b, 3x4, 3x6) set a frenetic tempo. The spin-pace combination of Shadab Jakati and Ravi Rampaul were scattered and the other bowlers too felt the heat.

Smith’s leading edge that ballooned to Kohli hardly stemmed the runs as du Plessis, first with Suresh Raina, and later with M.S. Dhoni, cruised towards the target. Yuvraj Singh hoodwinking Raina and evoking a stumping offered minor relief, while CSK marched towards its triumph with a steady gait, though Dhoni suffered a niggle in his legs that mildly hampered his running between the wickets.

Dhoni also had his slice of luck when he wildly swung at Yuvraj, missed the line and thankfully Yogesh Takawale failed to effect the stumping. Immediately, Dhoni celebrated with his customary elan — two mighty sixes, with the second one threatening the glass facade that sheathed the press box! And it was just a matter of time before the CSK dug-out erupted in joy.

Earlier, RCB sprung a surprise and omitted Chris Gayle. South African Rilee Rossouw was propped up the order, but the host’s fortunes continued to be in disarray. Ashish Nehra, despite the few lashes he suffered at the hands of Kohli, largely homed into the stumps and Rossouw was the first of his three victims.

The key strike in the very first over found incremental returns in the subsequent stages as the top-order struggled. Takawale slog-swept a few and Vijay Zol hoisted Nehra. But all that proved to be a mere flutter.

Takawale paid the price for being tentative against R. Ashwin, while Zol employed a needless hoick and was castled by Mohit Sharma.

At 33 for three, it was left to the troika of Kohli, Yuvraj and de Villiers to rescue the innings.

Yuvraj and de Villiers played bit-parts laced with the odd flourish, but it was Kohli who provided the spine.

Largely muted through this IPL campaign, Kohli finally unveiled his dominant persona. Ashwin and Nehra, the rival’s leading bowlers, were countered with disdain.

The sixes sailed high into the on-side as Kohli notched his best score this season.

Finally foxed by Nehra, Kohli trudged away to a loud applause from a packed venue. It was one of the few highlights on a dreary weekend for RCB.

Scoreboard

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Rilee Rossouw b Nehra 1 (4b), Yogesh Takawale lbw b Ashwin 19 (17b, 4x4), Vijay Zol b Mohit 13 (12b, 1x6), V. Kohli b Nehra 73 (49b, 2x4, 5x6), Yuvraj Singh c Raina b Jadeja 25 (24b, 2x4), A.B. de Villiers b Nehra 10 (6b, 2x4), Sachin Rana (not out) 5 (6b), Mitchell Starc (not out) 2 (2b); Extras (lb-2, w-4): 6; Total (for six wkts. in 20 overs): 154.

Fall of wickets: 1-2 (Rossouw), 2-31 (Takawale), 3-33 (Zol), 4-88 (Yuvraj), 5-130 (de Villiers), 6-150 (Kohli).

Chennai Super Kings bowling: Ashish Nehra 4-0-33-3, Samuel Badree 3-0-29-0, R. Ashwin 4-0-33-1, Mohit Sharma 3-0-16-1, Suresh Raina 4-0-27-0, Ravindra Jadeja 2-0-14-1.

Chennai Super Kings: Dwayne Smith c Kohli b Rampaul 34 (17b, 4x4, 1x6), Faf du Plessis (not out) 54 (43b, 3x4, 3x6), Suresh Raina st Takawale b Yuvraj 18 (18b, 2x4), M.S. Dhoni (not out) 49 (28b, 4x4, 3x6); Extras (b-4, w-1): 5; Total (for two wkts. in 17.4 overs): 160.

Fall of wickets: 1-57 (Smith), 2-85 (Raina).

Royal Challengers Bangalore bowling: Shadab Jakati 3.4-0-41-0, Ravi Rampaul 2-0-21-1, Mitchell Starc 3-0-33-0, Yuzvendra Chahal 4-0-24-0, Sachin Rana 1-0-7-0, Yuvraj Singh 4-0-30-1.

Man-of-the-match: M.S. Dhoni.

CSK won by eight wickets with 14 balls to spare.