Bengaluru: Mahendra Singh Dhoni did what he does best and almost pulled off a miraculous run-chase, prompting Virat Kohli to go through a lot of emotions as Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Chennai Super Kings by one run.
CSK skipper Dhoni’s scintillating 48-ball unbeaten 84 went in vain as his side failed to cross the line by just one run in a edge-of-the-seat contest against RCB at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Sunday night.
Having lost two matches in a row, reigning champions Chennai Super Kings would be under a bit of pressure when they take on in-form Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) at home on Tuesday.
Chasing a modest 162 on Sunday, CSK were reduced to 28 for four before Dhoni forged a crucial 59-run partnership with Ambati Rayudu and then kept the game alive with some lusty blows enroute another half-century.
The former India captain kept his side in the hunt by hitting Saini for 10 runs before clobbering Umesh for 24 runs in the final five deliveries as it looked like Chennai will once again clinch a last-ball thriller.
However, Dhoni failed to collect the much-needed two runs off the final delivery as Bangalore kept their play-off hopes alive, winning their third game out of the 10 matches they have played so far.
“A whole lot of emotion. We were outstanding with the ball until the 19th over mark. Defending 160 on that sort of pitch and the amount of dew we had was an outstanding effort. On the last ball, that was the last thing I would’ve expected to happen. Feels good to win a game by a small margin. We’ve lost a couple by small margins. MS did what he does best and he gave us all a massive scare,” Kohli said after the game.
“In the first six overs, we thought the ball wasn’t coming onto the bat that much. Parthiv (Patel) and AB (de Villiers) started to rebuild. At the halfway mark we thought 175 would’ve been a very good total on this pitch. We thought we were 15 short,” Kohli opined.
Dhoni became the first Indian batsman to hit 200 sixes in the IPL. Dhoni hit five fours and seven sixes during the course of his 48-ball inning, thus taking his overall IPL tally of maximums to 203. In the ongoing edition, the 37-year-old has so far hit 17 sixes.
Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina are next best Indian batsman in the list with both boasting of 190 sixes each in the IPL. RCB skipper Virat Kohli is not too far behind with 186 maximums to his name.
Overall, Chris Gayle has hit the maximum number of sixes in the IPL with a boasting number of 323, followed by AB de Villiers, who has hit 204 maximums in the T20 tournament. Dhoni is third in the list.
Despite two consecutive losses, CSK still sit pretty at the top of the points table with 14 points from 10 games. However, they will like their top order to perform and secure a playoffs berth.
SRH, however, will be wary of the fact that Tuesday’s game would be the last match for their in-form opener Johnny Bairstow, who will be leaving to attend England’s training camp for the upcoming World Cup. Both David Warner and Bairstow have scored the bulk of the runs for the SRH and their middle-order has not performed — a fact well known to them and their opponents.