Ambati Rayudu (L) and MS Dhoni © AFP
Ambati Rayudu (L) and MS Dhoni © AFP

In Match 24 of ongoing VIVO IPL 2018, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) kept their trend of pulling off a heist in the last-over versus Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). In pursuit of 206, CSK’s innings were led by Ambati Rayudu‘s counterattack and MS Dhoni‘s belligerence. This win also propelled CSK to the top of the table. RCB, on the other hand, continue to struggle in the bottom three.

CSK didn’t get off to a great start. Shane Watson, their only centurion since their readmission into IPL, fell early, to Pawan Negi. Rayudu and Suresh Raina then held the innings together for a brief period. However, Raina couldn’t make the most of the short boundaries and looked uncomfortable, particularly against Umesh Yadav.

Umesh got movement off the turf and bowled with serious pace. The wicket of Raina made him the fifth Indian to 100 IPL scalps. Sam Billings and Ravindra Jadeja perished without adding much to the score. Dhoni held himself back to promote Jadeja and keep a right-left combination going. Jadeja’s failure resulted in Yuzvendra Chahal’s second wicket of the night. With 131 required off 66 balls, it was RCB’s game to lose.

Dhoni came out at No. 6 with all guns blazing. He has batted like the rediscovered Dhoni we have got used to during this edition of IPL. He already had an excellent record at Chinnaswamy. Now he attacked from the moment he walked out. He took on Negi, played out Chahal (who returned excellent figures of 2 for 26) and scored against part-timer Corey Anderson. He looked to hit it straight, and churned out sixes at will.

However, the show belonged to Rayudu, CSK’s Mr. Consistent. He scored off the spinners by playing against the turn and predicted the pacers’ lengths too. He got the boundaries whenever the run-rate went up, thus keeping CSK in the hunt, and clinched the Orange Cap in the process.

Dhoni’s 19th IPL fifty came at a strike rate of over 180. Rayudu, on the other hand, got a thoroughly impressive 82 off only 53 balls. The scoring rate never seemed to dip even after Rayudu’s unfortunate run out. With 16 needed off the last over, Dwayne Bravo hit a four and six and ran a single; Dhoni then finished things off with a humongous six over deep mid-wicket.

Earlier, carnage from AB de Villiers and Quinton de Kock took RCB to 205 for 8. De Kock complimented a furious ABD, and the final flourish came from Mandeep Singh. Dwayne Bravo (2 for 33) and Imran Tahir  (2 for 35) derailed the run-flow to some extend; eventually helping in the final outcome.

Note: The match produced maximum sixes in an IPL encounter.

Brief scores:

Royal Challengers Bangalore 205 for 8 in 20 overs (Quinton de Kock 53, AB de Villiers 68, Mandeep Singh 32; Imran Tahir 2 for 35, Dwayne Bravo 2 for 33) lost to Chennai Super Kings 207 for 5 in 19.4 overs (Ambati Rayudu 82, MS Dhoni 70*, Dwayne Bravo 14*; Yuzvendra Chahal 2 for 26, Umesh Yadav 1 for 23) by 5 wickets with 2 balls to spare.

Player of the Match: MS Dhoni.