Dhoni's heroics in vain, RCB clinch last-ball thriller
Bangalore: Chennai Super Kings (CSK) skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni's scintillating 48-ball unbeaten 84 went in vain as his side failed to cross the line by just one run in yet another edge-of-the-seat contest against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, here on Sunday.
Apart from Dhoni and Ambati Rayudu (29), all the other Chennai batsmen failed to click. However, it was their captain who almost single-handedly took his side on the verge of an impossible win before failing to snatch two runs off the final delivery of the mouth-watering clash.
For RCB, Umesh Yadav and Dale Steyn picked up two wickets each while Yuzvendra Chahal and Navdeep Saini shared two wickets between them.
Chasing a modest 162, the defending champions were off to the worst possible start as they lost opener Shane Watson (5) and Suresh Raina (0) with just six runs on board, thanks to pacer Steyn's blows on successive deliveries in the very first over.
Umesh further jolted CSK after packing back opener Faf du PLessis (5) and Kedhar Jadhav (9) in quick succession as the visitors were left reeling at 28/4 in 5.5 overs.
Rayudu and Dhoni then forged a crucial 59-run partnership. However, the former couldn't continue for long as Chahal joined the party, dismissing Rayudu in the 14th over. New batsman Ravindra Jadeja also fell soon as a confusion between him and Dhoni while taking a quick single ended the former's stay.
Despite wickets falling from the other end, Dhoni kept the game alive with some lusty blows enroute another half-century. With 35 needed off the final two overs, CSK lost Dwayne Bravo.
But Dhoni 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.
Despite the result, Chennai stays at the top of the points table with 14 points.
Earlier, opener Parthiv Patel's (53 off 37) half-century followed by Moeen Ali's quick 16-ball 26 propelled Bangalore to 161/7.
The Chennai bowlers kept on jolting the home side at regular intervals as Bangalore failed to post a big total, thanks to Deepak Chahar, Jadeja and Bravo, who each picked two wickets beside bowling economically on a batting friendly Chinnaswamy track.
Asked to bat, Bangalore received a major blow as Bravo dismissed Bangalore skipper Kohli (9) with the hosts' score reading 11 runs in the third over.
Parthiv was then joined by South African superstar AB de Villiers (25 off 19) and they both showed some resistance, adding 47 runs for the second wicket before Jadeja struck to dismiss the latter. de Villiers while trying to clear the boundary miscued a Jadeja delivery to hand a catch to Faf du Plessis at long-off.
Akshdeep Nath (24 off 20) then added 41-runs with Parthiv as Bangalore slowly inched towards the three-digit mark before Jadeja cut short the former's stay in the 13th over with the hosts placed at 99.
25 runs later, Parthiv was the next to depart as Bravo accounted for his wicket in the 16th over. Parthiv's innings contained couple of boundaries and four sixes.
Marcus Stoinis chipped in with 14 runs, while Ali's contribution saw Bangalore reaching a modest total against the defending champions. Ali's 26 runs came from five boundaries.
It was Bravo who once again dismissed a dangerous looking Ali, while Tahir picked Stoinis. Pawan Negi and Umesh remained unbeaten on five and one run, respectively.