Hussey proves expensive as Super Kings suffer their third loss despite fighting hard on a difficult pitch

Royal Challengers Bangalore was looking for a lifeline in the Pepsi IPL-7. And Chennai Super Kings provided it. The five-wicket victory on a very difficult pitch would give RCB all the confidence needed for the next three games.

 CSK’s loss, its third this season and the first for M.S. Dhoni here, did no harm to the side’s chances. But a victory would have consolidated its position at the top of the table. In reply to CSK’s 138 for five, RCB scored 142 for five with a ball to spare to take its points tally to 10 from 11 games.

 The target looked imposing on this pitch. The RCB top-order struggled against the spin attack of CSK and the asking rate climbed steadily. But the script was written differently by three batsmen: Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and the man-of-the-match A.B. de Villiers.

“It wasn’t easy to bowl on this pitch but it wasn’t easy to bat either especially in the second innings,” said Abu Nechim Ahmed. “The pitch had become slower and ball was turning as the game progressed. It looked a bit difficult for us but (Chris) Gayle had a good partnership with Virat (Kohli) and then de Villiers and Yuvraj (Singh) batted really well.”

Ahmed said, “We were confident because we knew AB can change the match at any point. We had the belief that if not AB then Yuvraj will win it for us. Both did well, especially AB,” he added.

Slow progress

RCB could manage only 45 for one in 10 overs and 86 for two in 15. Skipper Kohli left at the most inappropriate time after making 27 off 29 balls. Gayle came good as the two laid a 61-run partnership for the second wicket in 10.4 overs that formed the foundation of this deserving victory.

 de Villiers and Gayle changed the complexion of the match with a 35-run stand for the third wicket in 2.5 overs. Gayle departed for 46, his highest this season, but de Villiers (28, 14b, 1x4, 3x6) made sure the target was within RCB’s grasp. Yuvraj hit a crucial six in the final over and Ahmed finished off with a boundary.

Electing to bat on a dry pitch, CSK was rocked by Varun Aaron in a space of two balls. The successful openers, Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum, fell cheaply leaving Suresh Raina and Davis Hussey, coming in for an indisposed Faf du Plessis, to do the rescue act.

Raina-Hussey come good

It was a tough match indeed for the Aussie, playing for the first time in this edition, to take off on a slow pitch. His experience stood him well as he struck an effective partnership of 75 runs in 9.5 overs to take the team’s total from two for 29 to 104 for three.

 Raina, as usual, was in flow despite the slowness of the pitch.

He put away the first ball he faced from Mitchell Starc to the fence and guided the next to third-man boundary for another four.

When Aaron came on, he greeted him with a pull and another guide took the ball past third-man fence.

A sweep off Muralitharan and a clean lift off Chahal for six embellished his second half century in 35 balls.

 Hussey, at the other end, played his typical knock till Murali forced him to pull to Starc. He made 25 off 29 balls with a four and a six.

 Raina stayed till the end, with Ravindra Jadeja, to remain unbeaten on 62 (48b, 6x4, 1x6) and ensure CSK put up a competitive total.