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The Chennai Super Kings have done it again. Time and again, this incredible team has managed to win from the most improbable of situations, and did it once again on Thursday evening as they broke Bangalore hearts to win a 400 run cliffhanger by 5 wickets in Match 13 of the IPL, chasing a mammoth 206 to win, Chennai recorded the second highest run chase ever in IPL history and in the context picked up a vital 2 points in the context of this season. In a game dominated by the batsmen, Bangalore witnessed half-centuries from Chris Gayle (68) and Virat Kohli (57) to post 205/8 in their 20 overs. Chennai seemed out of the game bringing up their 100 in just the 13th over, but a late blitz which included 45 runs in the last two overs, allowed them to record a last ball win.
Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Daniel Vettori won the toss and elected to bat in his side's â€˜grudge match' against defending IPL champions Chennai Super Kings. With temperatures touching 36 degrees, the pitch looked a belter for the batsmen and Vettori hoped it would slow down later and assist the spinners. The Chennai Super Kings are a formidable unit at home and went in with the same XI that lost to the Delhi Daredevils a few days ago, while the Royal Challengers Bangalore made one change, selecting Raju Bhatkal in place of Harshal Patel, who was out injured.
The Royal Challengers Bangalore scored the fastest fifty of the tournament thus far, as youngster Mayank Agarwal rode his luck and survived a dropped chance to score a blistering 45 off just 26 balls. Agarwal, who had been promoted to open the innings along with Chris Gayle, stole the limelight from his more illustrious batting partner as he took most of the strike and made good use of it, hitting five fours and three sixes in his knock. CSK resorted to familiar tactics and opened the bowling with R Ashwin, who was unlucky as Dougie Bollinger put down a sitter when Agarwal was on 16. After being belted around the park for 5 overs, Albie Morkel replaced Bollinger and struck in his first over, dismissing Agarwal when he skied a shot to Dwayne Bravo at mid on.
Chris Gayle came into his element after the departure of Agarwal, hitting five sixes on the way to the fastest fifty of this tournament (off 27 balls) as he decimated the normally reliable Chennai spinners, giving Shadab Jakati and Suresh Raina severe treatment while Virat Kohli providing steady support at the other end.
Albie Morkel and Dwayne Bravo slowed things down after the frantic start provided by Agarwal with a couple of tidy overs, but Gayle took a liking to Raina in his first over, smashing him for two sixes off his first two balls and following it up with another six later in the over to take 21 runs off it. The introduction of Shadab Jakati did nothing to slow down the pace, with the spinner going for 27 runs off his 2 overs, including three sixes by the Jamaican marauder as RCB reached a score of 135/1 after 14 overs.
Gayle added a sixth six to his innings, making an exceptional 68 off just 35 balls before being dismissed in the 17th when he holed out in the deep off the bowling of Ravindra Jadeja. Kohli, who had been subdued till then, took over the mantle as he punished Albie Morkel in particular, hitting him for 2 sixes in the 18th over which went for 17 runs and also brought up his 50 in 43 balls in the process.
While Bangalore looked on course for a total of around 220, Chennai managed to pull things back in the last two overs to restrict them to 205. The Bangalore batsmen went for broke, a move which did not pay off, resulting in Kohli and Tiwary holing out and Daniel Vettori being run out in the last over, with only a Vinay Kumar six off the last ball ensuring they crossed 200. Bollinger, who took 3 wickets in the last over in addition to a run out, ended up as the pick of the Chennai bowlers with 3/24 off three overs.
CSK again opened with Faf du Plessis and Murali Vijay, and the duo got off to a cagey start, with Bangalore skipper Daniel Vettori springing a surprise by bringing himself on to open the bowling with the wily Zaheer Khan at the other end. While Vijay appeared to be struggling, Du Plessis finally managed to break the shackles with two fours off Zaheerâ€™s second over and took charge with two sixes and a four off the sixth over bowled by Raju Bhatkal to race to 41 off 24 deliveries. Twenty runs came in that last over of the powerplay to propel Chennai to 52/0 at the end of 6 overs, matching Bangalore's start.
The introduction of Muttiah Muralitharan into the attack brought about immediate results, as the nearly 40 year old spinner appeared 20 years younger, springing to his right to take a sharp caught and bowled chance to dismiss Murali Vijay in the first over after the powerplay. With new man Raina in, CSK looked to maintain the momentum generated in the first 6 overs and Du Plessis brought up his fifty off 32 balls in the 10thover. Their fortunes were to suffer a setback in the very next over though as Raina holed out to Raju Bhatkal in the deep, again off the bowling of Murali.
Bhatkal had been targeted in the powerplay and was targeted yet again when he returned, with Chennai skipper MS Dhoni hitting him for a four and a six. And, with the required run rate quickly creeping out of hand, Du Plessis dealt out more of the same treatment in the next over bowled by Vettori, hitting two more sixes, one of which almost resulted in a catch by substitute fielder Tillekaratne Dilshan (on for Chris Gayle) on the boundary, his foot however touching the rope which led to it being declared a six. Chennai thus entered the last 6 overs needing 79 runs for a famous win.
Du Plessis was out in the very next over though, as he holed out to Virat Kohli in the deep to give Murali his third wicket of the night. While Dhoni did manage to hit a six and get Chennai 15 runs off the 17th over bowled by Vinay Kumar, two tidy overs from Zaheer Khan resulted in Dhoni feeling the pressure and holing out to Dilshan, leaving the Super Kings 43 to get off the last 12 balls, a highly improbable task under normal circumstances.
The absence of Chris Gayle hit the Bangalore side hard though and Vettori, who had used up all his main bowlers, had to choose between Virat Kohli and the inexperienced Raju Bhatkal to bowl the crucial 19th over. The skipper chose the international experience of Kohli over Bhatkal, who had been targeted earlier by Chennai. This move backfired spectacularly as Albie Morkel went after Kohli, and scored an incredible 28 runs off the over to swing the game dramatically in Chennaiâ€™s favour.
With 15 to get off the last over, Vinay Kumar dismissed Morkel early, however, Bravo brought the ask to 3 off 3 with the help of a no-ball hit for four and a six off a low full toss. With 2 required off the last ball, Jadeja swung wildly and got it away to the boundary, thus breaking Bangalore hearts and sealing a dramatic win for Chennai.
Bangalore will have little time to lift themselves from this defeat as they take on the Rajastan Royals at home this Sunday. Chennai meanwhile are back on the road, heading over to Pune to take on the Warriors in the only game this Saturday.
Chennai Super Kings: Francois Du Plessis, Murali Vijay, Suresh Raina, Subramaniam Badrinath, Dwayne Bravo, Albie Morkel, MS Dhoni(Captain & wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shadab Jakati, Doug Bollinger
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Cheteshwar Pujara, Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli, AB De Villiers(wk), Saurabh Tiwary, Mayank Agarwal, Daniel Vettori(Captain), Raju Bhatkal, Zaheer Khan, R Vinay Kumar, Muttiah Muralitharan
Royal Challengers Bangalore 205/8 (20 overs, 10.25rpo)
C Gayle 68 (35) D Bollinger 3-24
V Kohli 57 (46) R Jadeja 2-18
Chennai Super Kings 208/5 (20 overs, 10.4rpo)
F du Plessis 71 (46) M Muralitharan 3-21
MS Dhoni 41 (24) Z Khan 1-32
Chennai win by 5 wickets
File Photograph Copyright: Michael Henn
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