The much awaited summer showers swept into Bangalore at the most inopportune time on Saturday. Royal Challengers Bangalore seemed resigned for a dark, damp night as it had to win against Chennai Super Kings to have a marginal shot at the IPL play-offs but the wet weather was hampering Virat Kohli’s men here.
In the end the skies turned dry and RCB’s performance, its fans’ faith, the untiring efforts of the ground-staff to dry the surface and CSK’s sluggishness when the match eventually commenced as an eight-overs-per-side game at 11 p.m., all combined to gift a match worth the wait for the die-hards who thronged the stands.
In the truncated game, RCB defeated table-topper CSK by 24 runs.
Chasing RCB’s 106 for two, CSK mustered 82 for six. “I thought we were sharper. (You just have) 48 balls and if you don’t put away three to four balls quickly then you are behind. We put CSK on the back-foot,” said Ray Jennings, RCB’s coach while his counterpart – CSK’s Stephen Fleming – admitted that his side was behind in the urgency-sweepstakes. “It was very hard to keep the players on the edge and ready-to-go. At one point we thought there is no way there will be a game,” Fleming said.
Right from the moment CSK skipper M.S. Dhoni won the toss and opted to field, it was RCB that held the reins. The host’s lead batsmen – skipper Virat Kohli (56 n.o.) and Chris Gayle – remained unperturbed by the odd dot-ball as they had the big six in their arsenal. Kohli tucked into R. Ashwin and Chris Morris while Gayle smote three consecutive sixes off Jason Holder as the run-rate galloped. Though Gayle and AB de Villiers fell, Kohli, also a recipient of a dropped catch by Dhoni, ensured that his team had enough runs to test CSK.
The visitor meanwhile struggled for a launch-pad as Zaheer Khan (four for 17) snuffed out Michael Hussey and Suresh Raina and later in the game, dismissed Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja.
CSK played catch-up and lost the fight once the equation boiled down to 51 from 12 deliveries.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (not out) 56 (29b, 6x4, 4x6), Chris Gayle c Hussey b Bravo 28 (13b, 4x6), A.B. de Villiers c Jadeja b Mohit 5 (3b, 1x4), Moises Henriques (not out) 12 (3b, 3x4); Extras (lb-3, w-2): 5; Total (for two wkts. in eight overs): 106.
Fall of wickets: 1-67 (Gayle), 2-76 (de Villiers).
Chennai Super Kings bowling: R. Ashwin 2-0-21-0, Chris Morris 2-0-22-0, Jason Holder 1-0-20-0, Dwayne Bravo 2-0-26-1, Mohit Sharma 1-0-14-1.
Chennai Super Kings: Michael Hussey c Rahul b Zaheer 6 (5b, 1x4), Murali Vijay c Gayle b Rampaul 32 (19b, 2x4, 2x6), Suresh Raina c Vinay b Zaheer 0 (1b), Dwayne Bravo c Tiwary b Vinay 11 (9b, 1x6), M.S. Dhoni c Unadkat b Zaheer 24 (10b, 2x4, 2x6), Ravindra Jadeja c & b Zaheer 7 (4b, 1x4), S. Badrinath (not out) 0 (0b); Extras (w-2): 2; Total (for six wkts. in eight overs): 82.
Fall of wickets: 1-11 (Hussey), 2-11 (Raina), 3-29 (Bravo), 4-56 (Vijay), 5-78 (Dhoni), 6-82 (Jadeja).
Royal Challengers Bangalore bowling: Ravi Rampaul 2-0-20-1, Zaheer Khan 2-0-17-4, Jaydev Unadkat 2-0-16-0, Vinay Kumar 1-0-10-1, R.P. Singh 1-0-19-0.
Man-of-the-match: V. Kohli.