Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni hit a merciless 84 not out off just 48 balls on Sunday but that wasn’t enough as Royal Challengers Bangalore edged home by one run and kept their IPL hopes alive.
Chennai were down and almost out at 28-4 chasing 162 after RCB quick Dale Steyn had rocked the top order. But Dhoni took the game right to the last over where he dared to score the required 26 off six balls.
Dhoni smashed seamer Umesh Yadav’s first three balls for four, six and six. The game was now within reach and with eight needed off two balls, Dhoni launched the hapless quick over midwicket as the equation came down to two off the last ball.
Yadav bowled a slower one to Dhoni which the veteran missed keeper Parthiv Patel affected a run-out off the attempted bye as RCB held on to a one-run win.
The Super Kings remained at the top of the table after their third defeat in 10 games while RCB are still at the bottom of the table with just their third win after 10 matches.
Parthiv takes control
With RCB batting first,Chennai seamer Deepak Chahar got the ball to swing away late and had skipper Virat Kohli in all sorts of trouble. He got an edge over slips before nicking a full away swinger to keeper Dhoni, showing he remains susceptible to the away swinging ball.
AB de Villiers looked good before mistiming Ravindra Jadeja to long off for 25. It was left to opener Parthiv Patel to press the accelerator and the left-hander did just that, racing to 53 off 37 with two hits to the fence and four maximums.
Patel’s spark covered up Bangalore’s bizarre ploy to hold back in-form power hitter Moeen Ali to number six after the Englishman had spanked two fifties at the No4 position.
Moeen made 26 off 16, while Akshdeep Nath (24 off 20) and Marcus Stoinis (14 off 13) didn’t do much before him. Still, a total of 161-7 was put on the board.
Steyn stuns Chennai
There was still some juice in the pitch. And Steyn (2-29) knows how to extract it. In one of the liveliest new-ball spells of the season, Steyn got out-of-form Shane Watson to edge a rising away swinger to first slip before castling Suresh Raina with a quick yorker first ball.
Fellow quick Umesh hurried Faf du Plessis and Kedar Jadhav with short balls that were caught inside the circle as Bangalore pushed the table toppers onto the backfoot.
Dhoni fights back
Be it India or Chennai Super Kings, it’s always Dhoni who has to clean up after a batting collapse. At 28-4, RCB were all over Chennai and Dhoni did what he does best – blunt the attack and take the match into the final 20 minutes.
He first added 55 for the fifth wicket with Ambati Rayudu before taking it upon himself to finish the game. The equation was still in Bangalore’s favour when 49 were needed off the final three overs but Dhoni wasn’t done yet.
Dhoni’s innings included five fours and as many as seven sixes, with the first six in the final over of the match going out of the ground.
Steve Smith will look to build on the winnings start as Rajasthan Royals captain in IPL 2019 when his team hosts Delhi Capitals on Monday.
The Australian star batsman was handed the captaincy reins after Ajinkya Rahane led them to six defeats in seven games. In his first game in charge, Smith hit an unbeaten fifty against Mumbai Indians to secure just the third win of the season.
Against a dangerous looking Delhi in Jaipur, Rajasthan will be hoping for another clinical show.
Binny and Parag show promise
Rajasthan will be pleased with the fight shown by unheralded all-rounder Stuart Binny and 17-year-old batsman Riyan Parag.
Binny has proven to be a nifty player with his seamers difficult to hit away while with the bat he has muscled unbeaten 40 runs so far in two innings.
However, it’s Parag’s fearless batting that should give Rajasthan a lot of heart.
The 17-year-old missed out on being the youngest to hit an IPL fifty (43 off 29 balls) in the match against Mumbai and will look to shore up Rajasthan’s middle order that has been plagued by poor form of Ben Stokes.
Delhi hope for pace
Delhi Capitals have a deadly pace attack but have had to contend with astonishingly slow pitch at home this season. Kagiso Rabada and Ishant Sharma have proven to be a handful if the wicket offers even a little bit of assistance. Against a Rajasthan line-up that isn’t exactly firing – especially with Jos Buttler back in England – Delhi will be hoping their quicks can go all out.
If not, they have leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane who has shown the ability to pick up top wickets, even if at the cost of a few runs.
Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane, Sanju Samson (wk), Steve Smith (c), Ben Stokes, Riyan Parag, Ashton Turner, Stuart Binny, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat, Dhawal Kulkarni
Delhi Capitals: Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer (c), Rishabh Pant (wk), Colin Ingram, Axar Patel, Chris Morris, Amit Mishra, Kagiso Rabada, Ishant Sharma, Sandeep Lamichhane
Sunrisers Hyderabad openers David Warner and Jonny Bairstow pulverised Kolkata Knight Riders with yet another century to set up a comprehensive nine-wicket on Sunday.
Kolkata scored 159-8 and were hoping to get into the untested Sunrisers middle order. But poor fielding and and merciless batting by Hyderabad put paid to that plan as Warner and Bairstow added 131 for the first wicket – their fourth century stand of this campaign – as the hosts eased to 161-1 with five overs to spare.
Bairstow and Warner thus became the most prolific opening pair in an IPL season, going past Warner and Shikhar Dhawan’s tally of 731 set in 2016.
Bairstow remained unbeaten on 80 off just 43 balls, while Warner made 67 off 38.
Kolkata really needed to make a statement at the top of the order falling to four-successive defeats. And they did get that from Sunil Narine who blasted 25 off eight balls, departing after losing his stumps to seamer Khaleed Ahmed.
Chris Lynn played the role of anchor as he stitched together a near run-a-ball fifty. But as has been seen time and again, such innings rarely set up winning totals on decent batting wickets.
Russell held back
For some reason, KKR insist on giving the least possible overs to Andre Russell to bat, which might have something to do with his wrist injury.
While he talked about batting at No4 position, the Knight Riders pushed Russell down to No7 on Sunday.
When the Jamaican marauder came to the crease, KKR were going nowhere at 126-5 after 16 overs. With Robin Uthappa dropped from the team following his excruciating 9 off 20 balls against RCB, there was even lesser experience in the batting line-up but Kolkata didn’t change their tactics.
They only got 15 off nine balls from Russell as the total reached 159-8.
SRH have registered 100+ opening partnerships 10 times in the IPL.— Sarang Bhalerao (@bhaleraosarang) April 21, 2019
David Warner has been involved in all 10 100+ opening partnerships (6 with Dhawan and 4 with Bairstow)
Warner for SRH
50+ scores: 34
A 50+ score every second innings@SunRisers #superstar #SRHvKKR
Warner and Bairstow have stitched together a remarkable partnership at the top of the order for Sunrisers.
While batting has generally been difficult in the 12th edition of the tournament, the Aussie-English pair have formed the an enthralling opening partnership.
The fourth century stand of the season between Warner and Bairstow took their season tally past the all-time record of 731 runs by Warner and Shikhar Dhawan in 2016. What’s incredible is the two breached the mark in just nine innings while Warner and Dhawan took 17 to reach there.
Luck played its part in the record-setting day for Sunrisers as Bairstow was dropped three times, first on one at deep point by KC Cariappa, on 55 by Harry Gurney at deep fine leg and on 58 by Piyush Chawla at deep mid-wicket.
Which such a disjointed effort and dependence on an unfit and under-utilised Andre Russell, Knight Riders stood no chance.