Virat Kohli blasts 'criminal' bowling by Royal Challengers Bangalore after IPL six-fest

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Virat Kohli was not happ

Captain Virat Kohli slammed Royal Challengers’ bowling as “criminal” after Mahendra Singh Dhoni lifted Chennai Super Kings to the top of the Indian Premier League in a game featuring a record 33 sixes.

Dhoni – who stood down for Kohli as India skipper in all formats last year – smashed an unbeaten 70 off 34 as the Super Kings chased down 206 to defeat Bangalore with two balls to spare.

Dhoni hit the ball over the boundary seven times – including to seal the winning runs – while opener Ambati Rayudu slammed eight sixes on Thursday.

Kohli was also docked his match fee of $18,000 because of the Challengers’ slow over-rate at Bangalore’s M. Chinnaswamy Stadium.

“The way we bowled was just not acceptable, giving that many runs in the end was criminal,” said Kohli.

“Dhoni is looking in really good touch, he’s hitting the ball really well this IPL but not great to see it against us,” he added.

Dhoni, 36, displayed his signature cool at the crease in a 101-run, fifth-wicket partnership with Rayudu, who hit 82.

Some have suggested the wicketkeeper-batsman is past his prime but Dhoni’s 209 runs in six games, including two half-centuries, have been critical to putting two-time champions Chennai top of the IPL.

“What’s important in a chase is to know which bowler has how many (overs) left and who the captain will bowl when, and you play accordingly,” said Dhoni.

“You will win some, you’ll lose some but the job of the finisher is to finish the job and help others.”

This year’s IPL is offering $8 million in prize money, including $4 million for the team crowned champions at the May 27 final in Mumbai.

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IPL 2018: Ambati Rayudu finds his stride for Chennai Super Kings in record chase vs Royal Challengers Bangalore

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Chennai Super Kings chased down Royal Challengers Bangalore’s mammoth total of 205/8 to reach the summit of the Indian Premier League standings.

Half-centuries from AB de Villiers and Quinton de Kock helped the hosts to another 200-plus score but it wasn’t enough to prevent a fourth defeat for RCB in the current edition.

Ambati Rayudu starred for CSK, hitting three fours and eight sixes in his innings of 82 before being run out by Umesh Yadav.

Chennai skipper MS Dhoni (70 runs of 34 balls) however was on hand to see his side over the line as they won by five wickets with two balls to spare.

DE VILLIERS LEADS CHARGE

Given the star quality at their disposal, the Royal Challengers should really be higher up in the standings even at this stage of the season. One of the main criticisms against them is their tendency to rely on the big names in their batting order.

Either Virat Kohli or De Villiers has had to deliver and this time, it was the South African who starred with his knock of 68. He played some outstanding shots, registering eight sixes and two fours in a masterful display of clean-hitting.

Before Rayudu’s effort, De Villiers led the run-scoring in the league with 280 in six innings so far, boasting a strike rate of 184.21. With the 34-year-old in such devastating form, Bangalore can be forgiven for hanging their hats on their star-studded batting line-up.

What will be even more encouraging is the support De Villiers was afforded. After a poor start to the campaign, Quinton de Kock came good with his sixth IPL half-century.

Mandeep Singh is making a habit of chipping in with some handy knocks and did so again while Washington Sundar ensured they got over the 200-run mark in the final over despite losing four wickets for three runs.

RAYUDU HITS HIS STRIDE

Rayudu has looked impressive this season but while he put together some good starts at the crease in the first four games, he wasn’t able to take the next step and convert those into telling innings. Last time out against Sunrisers Hyderabad, he dropped down to No4 and finally came good.

His knock of 79 from 37 balls led Chennai to a total of 182/3 and they were able to hold on for a four-run win. Returning to open the innings against RCB, it looks as if Rayudu has hit his stride – and the visitors’ bowling attack to all parts of the ground.

After a fast start, the 32-year-old did briefly slow down to an extent as Shane Watson, Suresh Raina and Sam Billings were dismissed cheaply.

Dhoni supported him brilliantly, though, and together they steadied the ship before accelerating towards their target with strategic precision. Rayudu was unfortunate to be run out after a superb innings of 82 which took his within sight of victory before Dhoni – as ever – finished things off in style.

TAHIR LIMITS DAMAGE

Twitter can be an unforgiving platform and once again, it was quick to pounce on Imran Tahir’s overzealous celebrations. Some would argue that despite match-winning innings from Rayudu and Dhoni, De Villiers’ effort was still the pick of the bunch.

He punished the Chennaiyin attack but could’ve destroyed them along with any hope of a successful run chase had it not been for Tahir stopping him in his tracks. With the penultimate ball of the 15th over, he got De Villiers caught out at deep cover by Sam Billings, luring the South African into the trap.

He set out on a run that only seemed destined to end all the way back in Chennai before he was stopped by a team-mate. His excitement was understandable though as the dismissal of De Villiers did significantly curtail the home team’s scoring.

He then picked up the wicket of Corey Anderson with the very next ball as the left-hander was caught in the slips by Harbhajan Singh. While RCB’s total of 205 was still daunting and one that should’ve been defended, it could’ve been more had it not been for Tahir’s two wickets in quick succession.

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IPL 2018 Preview: Recharged Sunrisers Hyderabad in the eye of another Chris Gayle hurricane

Ashish Peter 25/04/2018
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Gayle will once again be in focus. Image -IPL/Twitter.

It will be an enticing clash when third-placed Sunrisers Hyderabad host league leaders Kings XI Punjab in the IPL on Thursday.

Kane Williamson’s Sunrisers have got their campaign back on track with their incredible win against the Mumbai Indians following two successive defeats.

On the other hand, Ravichandran Ashwin’s Kings XI Punjab have defied all expectations to establish themselves as the surprise league leaders with five wins out of six matches.

TALKING POINTS

SUNRISERS GRAPPLING WITH INJURY ISSUES

Though they have their opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan back from injury, Hyderabad will be sweating over the fitness of their pace spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar who did not play in the win against Mumbai due to a niggling back injury.

The side has also lost the services of express pacer Billy Stanlake for the remainder of the tournament due to a fractured finger and as such, their bowling department is a bit thin at the moment.

PLAYERS IN FOCUS

Chris Gayle has added a new dimension to Punjab’s batting and he is ominously looking like a man with a point to prove after not being retained by Royal Challengers Bangalore and then initially going unsold in the IPL auction.

The explosive left-hander has played three destructive innings since making his Kings XI debut including a superb ton against the same opposition in the tie in Mohali.

On that occasion, it was leg-spinner Rashid Khan who came in the Jamaican’s cross hairs as he conceded 55 runs in his four overs. The Afghanistan man will be determined to get one over Gayle come Thursday and their personal duel could very well play a decisive role in the outcome of the match.

LIKELY LINE-UPS

Sunrisers Hyderabad: Kane Williamson (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Manish Pandey, Wridddhiman Saha (wk), Shakib Al Hasan, Yusuf Pathan, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar*, Siddharth Kaul, Sandeep Sharma.

Kings XI Punjab: KL Rahul (wk), Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, Yuvraj Singh, David Miller, Ravichandran Ashwin (c), Andrew Tye,  Barinder Sran, Ankit Rajpoot, Mujeeb ur Rahman.

*Subject to fitness.

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