Bengaluru: Twenty six runs were required off the last over for Chennai Super Kings to notch an eighth consecutive win over Royal Challengers Bangalore, on Sunday. They lost by one run. To be precise, they fell short by a couple of inches.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni had already done the unthinkable. Picking 24 off the first five deliveries, it was again expected of him to finish in style. A mistimed shot meant those two runs had to be sprinted but Parthiv Patel executed a run-out that was far more impactful than the half-century he had scored earlier in the day.
If Dale Steyn had helped the hosts get off to a perfect start to defend their 161-run target, Dhoni had emerged as the perfect spoilsport.
Studded with five boundaries and seven sixes, Dhoni’s 48-ball 84 helped Chennai pull momentum back in their favour after they were reeling at 32 for four at the end of the Powerplay.
Earlier — put in to bat — the hosts too were off to a poor start as Virat Kohli fell cheaply, Deepak Chahar inducing a thick edge off his bat in the second over. Chahar, who has improved bit-by-bit in the IPL this season, set off in style, running with his arms stretched in a manner that should have brought a smile on Imran Tahir’s face.
It left AB de Villiers the responsibility of steering their ship once again. But Parthiv Patel ensured it wasn’t solely the South African’s prerogative to ensure a decent run rate. He saw off the initial overs and then started to free his arms as the innings progressed. Unlike his partner at the other end, who had been unleashing the typical short-arm pulls, Patel’s knock was more of a mismatch — proper cricketing shots in a format that sees the least of it.
Because of the onslaught from both ends, RCB reached 49 for one at the end of Powerplay from 11 for one after the first three overs. De Villiers, who had enjoyed a reprieve in the last over of the Powerplay, failed to take advantage of it as he holed one to Faf du Plessis in the very next over.
It was an excellent setup from Ravindra Jadeja, who lured De Villiers to try and go for the heave but had the length shortened. And with only the toe end of the bat connecting with the ball, it just fell short of the boundary and Du Plessis calmly completed the sitter. In between, Patel steadily helped RCB build momentum.