In quite possibly the most electric atmosphere the tournament has witnessed until now, MS Dhoni and Ambati Rayudu led the Chennai Super Kings to victory from the jaws of defeat. Dhoni was named Man of the Match for his incredible 70 from 34 balls, which included a personal record in the IPL of 7 maximums.
Chasing an imposing target of 206, Dhoni, who is one of the best finishers around right now, took the game deep. Requiring 71 runs from the final 5 overs, Dhoni, along with Ambati Rayudu and Dwayne Bravo at the end, reached the target with 2 balls to spare.
Dhoni and Rayudu were the mainstays of the CSK innings. The pair came together at the crease with the team in real danger of losing the game without putting up a real fight with the score reading 74-4 after 9 overs. The duo faced the imposing task of scoring 132 runs from 11 overs.
But they rose to the occasion and put up a match-winning partnership of 101 from just 53 balls to keep CSK in the game and take it to the final overs. Rayudu was unfortunately run-out for 82 off 53 balls in the 18th over. But this knock gave Rayudu the Orange Cap as he jumped to the top of the leading run-scorers in the tournament.
After the game, Rayudu, who was just as stunned as the viewers were, said, “Unbelievable! We lost a few wickets early, but on this ground anything is possible. I'm not really bothered (about where I'm batting) because I'm hitting the ball really well. We had the belief and we were calculating which bowler had how many overs … We just wanted to play out (Yuzvendra) Chahal.”
Dwayne Bravo joined his skipper when the men in yellow required 30 to win from the final 2 overs. The penultimate over was bowled by Mohammed Siraj, who conceded just 3 runs from his first 4 deliveries. But when MSD hit him for a six over point, his nerves got the better of him. A visibly nervous looking Siraj delivered 3 consecutive wides, followed by 2 more runs from the final delivery to give CSK a boost – the team needed 16 runs from the final over.
Corey Anderson, who was given the duty of finishing the innings for RCB, had a disastrous final over as he was hit for 6,4,1, and, before anyone even knew what happened, the game was over with MSD, as he is wont to do, finishing the match with another sixer.
Dhoni, who was calm as ever, said after the game, “I thought it was a difficult chase when I saw AB batting to see them over 200, I thought it was 15-20 beyond par. We also lost some key batsmen early, but it's a small ground, the ball travels a lot here, there was some dew, not a lot. Overall, it went according to the script, not according to how we would have thought but went well.”
RCB’s biggest problem has been their bowling, especially in the death overs. The batsmen did their job in the first innings. AB de Villiers was simply magical, scoring 68 runs off 30 balls at a strike rate of 227. He was supported well by Quinton de Kock who scored a well-made 53 off 37 balls. Mandeep Singh finished the innings well by making a quick-fire 32 in 17 balls.
Yuzvendra Chahal and Umesh Yadav were exceptional with the ball. Chahal picked up 2 wickets for just 26 runs, while Umesh picked up 1 for 23.