Pune: Royal Challengers Bangalore moved into fourth place in the Indian Premier League with a 13-run win over Chennai Super Kings on Wednesday.
Chennai’s brittle batting ended up at disappointing 160-8 after its captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss in his 200th IPL game for the franchise and had restricted Bangalore to 173-8.
Bangalore snapped a three-game losing streak and has 12 points from 11 games — two games more than fifth-place Sunrisers Hyderabad. Chennai sits ninth with just six points.
“We feel like our batters are starting to hit the middle of the bat more and more (and) with our bowlers starting to gel, we feel like we’re starting to go in the right direction,” Glenn Maxwell said. “Hopefully we haven’t left it too late and we can peak right towards finals and find a way into that top four and do some damage in the finals.”
Bangalore fast bowler Harshal Patel bowled superbly in the death overs and grabbed 3-35 while Maxwell exploited the tackiness of the wicket to chip in with 2-22.
Devon Conway top-scored with 56 and Ruturaj Gaikwad made 28 as they provided Chennai a solid start of 54. But Chennai lost wickets in quick succession after the batting powerplay with Gaikwad holing out in the deep off Shahbaz Ahmed and Maxwell striking in his first two overs.
Robin Uthappa was caught at backward point of the Australian off-spinner’s second ball and Ambati Rayudu was outdone by a shortish slow ball that crashed onto the top of middle stump as Chennai slipped to 3-75 in the 10th over.
Conway and Moeen Ali (34) revived the chase but Bangalore came back strongly as Wanindu Hasaranga had Conway caught at deep square leg off a mistimed sweep shot and the Patel sealed the game with his three quick wickets.
Earlier, Chennai spinners Maheesh Theekshana (3-27) and Moeen (2-28) combined well in the middle overs despite skipper Faf du Plessis (38) and Virat Kohli (30) giving Bangalore a decent start of 62 runs.
Moeen removed both the opening batters in his first two overs with du Plessis holing out at deep midwicket and Kohli was clean bowled off a delivery which turned enough and clattered onto his stump.
Dinesh Karthik yet again played a little cameo of unbeaten 26 off 17 balls with two sixes and a boundary that lifted Bangalore’s total in the last two overs.
“We need to keep looking at what went wrong,” Dhoni said. “It’s easy to get distracted by how many points you have. It’s the process that matters more than where you are positioned in the points table. If you take care of those things, then the points table will take care of itself.” AP