Royal Challengers Bangalore had lost seven of their 9 matches so far in this IPL season. Given the past record between the southern rivals, Chennai Super Kings were favourites by far to win the match at the M Chinnaswamy stadium. But MS Dhoni, the CSK captain who is a master of taking chases deep into the inning and finishing with a victory among a flurry of strokes fell one short. Shardul Thakur could not make his ground running for a bye off the last ball and was run out by Parthiv Patel. Had Thakur completed the run, the match would have gone into a Super Over instead of RCB winning by one run.
Virat Kohli coming fresh from a century in the last match could not carry on in the same vein here as he fell in the second over getting a thin edge off Depak Chahar to Dhoni. Parthiv Patel and AB de Villiers were at the crease when at the end of power play the score was 49 for 1. De Villiers fell in the very next over going down the track to hoick Ravindra Jadeja only to be caught by Faff du Plessis at the long-off boundary. The Jadeja-du Plessis combination collected another scalp when Akashdeep Nath also danced down the wicket trying to clear long-off.
Parthiv Patel scored his second 50 of the IPL season in only 36 balls but was out the very next ball trying to loft Dwayne Bravo over extra cover ending up being caught by Shane Watson. In a surprising move, perhaps because of the left-right combination, Moeen Ali was held back and came in at the fall of Parthiv Patel’s wicket. Ali who had scored two 50’s in the last two innings showed that he was still in good touch scoring 26 from 16 to help RCB finish with 161 runs. However, for a ground with small boundaries, the total seemed too small to thwart the league leaders from getting to their eighth win of the season.
Dale Styne had CSK on the back foot right from the start, striking a double blow by dismissing both Shane Watson and Suresh Raina off consecutive deliveries in the very first over of the chase. To Virat Kohli’s delight, Umesh Yadav who replaced Styne got the wickets of Faff du Plessis and Kedar Jadhav in two successive overs. CSK finished the power play at 32 runs for 4 wickets scoring at the rate of 5.33 runs per over. Dhoni came in at the fall of Jadhav’s wicket and immediately struck Yadav for four runs behind point.
Dhoni and Ambati Rayadu, in a bid to steady the ship, put together a cautious 53 runs off 44 balls taking the score to 83 runs before Rayadu missed a flick off Yazuvendra Chahal to be bowled off his pads. The required run rate was creeping upward of 15 runs per over when a mix-up between the two batsmen saw Jadeja being run out by Navdeep Saini. With 18 runs required per over, the nineteenth over saw Dhoni twice refusing to take a single and give the strike to Dwayne Bravo. Dhoni did take a single off the second last ball of the over only to see Bravo get out caught and bowled by Saini off the last.
CSK needed 26 runs to score 26 runs off the last over to be bowled by Umesh Yadav to get the better of RCB. Dhoni pulled the first ball for four and scored six each off the next two deliveries. AB de Villiers did get a hand on the second six but could not latch on to it on the boundary. After scoring two runs off the next ball Dhoni pulled a full toss for a six over the mid-wicket. Needing two runs for victory, Dhoni missed the last ball and ran for a bye. But Parthiv Patel was alert and threw the stumps down catching Thakur short of the crease. RCB had won the match by one run. Dhoni remained not out with 84 runs off 48 balls hitting 5 fours and 7 sixes.
With their third win in 10 games, Royal Challengers have kept their hopes of a place in the playoffs alive. Chennai Super Kings would have almost confirmed their place if they had won the match against RCB. But they will get their chance against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Tuesday. Bangalore Super Kings will meet Kings XI Punjab on the day after.