After Shane Watson (62) guided Chennai Super Kings to a comfortable score of 180/8, Deepak Chahar’s economical display ensured that Royal Challengers Bangalore never stood a chance. Aaron Finch’s unbeaten 83 might have been the highlight for RCB but it did nothing for their chances of winning.
Winning the toss and sending CSK to bat first, RCB’s decent start, reducing CSK for 9/1 after two overs, quickly dissipated. Over the next four overs, Watson and Raina would open their arms and take the score to 62/1 to end the powerplay. The introduction of spin did slow down the rapid scoring but it was not enough to prevent Watson from getting to his fifty putting CSK in control at 91/1 at the midway point. Three wickets in two overs let RCB back into the game as CSK reached 130 at the end of the 15th over. However, a disastrous death over performance, and some solid hitting from Dhoni and Bravo, meant the final scorecard at the end of the innings read 180/8.
Chasing a big target, RCB just could not get going with Finch and Parthiv refusing to take too many risks. That meant that once Parthiv was dismissed and Kohli came in, all RCB had was 36 runs on the board in the powerplay. But the skipper did not last long either and at the midway point of the innings, RCB looked in massive trouble with the score of just 72 runs on the board. As de Villiers upped the scoring rate at one end, Finch seemed to have gone into a shell. By the time the Aussie came out the attack, the game, after de Villiers (40) fell in the 19th over, was already done.
As hard as it might be to comprehend, for me, the turning point of the game came as early as the third over of the match. CSK had looked jittery with the bat with both Watson and Faf du Plessis struggling. The latter was even dismissed in the second over and RCB looked like they might be onto something. However, as Kohli threw the ball to Saini, who had conceded just two runs off his first over, Watson decided he had to act. Four consecutive boundaries later, it was CSK’s game to lose because RCB were never in any sort of control post that.
Highs and Lows
There were quite a few options to choose from here - Watson’s innings, de Villiers’ cameo, or even Deepak Chahar’s spells. However, I have decided to go with the all round display that Bravo produced today. It is easy to forget that CSK looked like they were coming apart toward the end of their innnigs losing wickets in quick succession. However, Bravo stood tall and delivered a 7-ball 20 to get CSK to a great score. With the ball, not only did he dismiss Kohli but a relatively cheap display in the middle overs ensured his team was always ahead of the curve.
There can only be one low in this game - RCB’s bowling changes. After been hammered for 18 runs in his second over, Saini somehow was handed the ball again in the powerplay. The result - a 16 run over. This despite the fact that Chahal is considered to be one of the best powerplay bowlers in the world, let alone this team. With Morris struggling and the team quite clearly short on death over bowlers, the introduction of Ali was way too late. And after he claimed two wickets at the cost of three runs, he was taken out of the attack. With the kind of squad available, they are just not utilizing the resources well enough.
Powerplay exploitation: CSK 9/10 and RCB 5/10
A powerplay performance that started off slow with just nine runs on the board after two overs, a big boost was needed. So Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Shane Watson milked 17 runs off Saini’s second over before Raina got into the act as well smashing Umesh for two boundaries in the same over. Morris did nothing to help out his team with another 9 run over, which included the first six of the match. But the recovery was well and truly completed when Saini’s 16 runs ensured that CSK finished the powerplay with a score of 62/1.
Initially it appeared that RCB were looking to follow the CSK template of a slow start and then inject some life into their run chase as they, too, scored nine runs in the first couple of overs. However, it soon became clear that they were just struggling as the following two overs, bowled by Chahar and Thakur, yielded just 11 more runs. Chasing 181, the pressure finally got to Parthiv, who after a boundary, was stumped by the duo of Tahir and Dhoni. Even though Chahar allowed nine runs in the last over of the powerplay, 36 runs was nowhere close to where RCB should have been at that point.
Middle-overs manoeuvring: CSK 8.5/10 and RCB 7.5/10
Realizing his team was in trouble, Kohli quickly handed the ball to his most trusted lieutenant - Chahal. While the Haryana lad slowed down the scoring, Chennai were still going strong by scoring at the other end where Morris and Sundar were leaking runs. Just as it appeared that CSK had taken complete control of the game, up stepped Ali, in the 13th over, to dismiss Raina and the incoming Rayudu on consecutive deliveries. And even though Sundar did finally dismiss Watson for 62, and Morris gave away just four runs in the 15th over, the damage had been done and CSK ready to unload in the final five. The only reason for the 1.5 point deduction is the fact that it could have been so much better.
RCB needed their skipper and Chasemaster Kohli to turn up for the big occasion but it was Finch who was taking all the risks. 17 runs in the two overs post the powerplay might not have been enough but it looked like a start. However, Kohli’s laboured 13-ball 10 was quickly ended by Bravo to push RCB on the edge. As Finch continued to play at a slower pace, even after completing his half century, de Villiers decided to up the ante by going on the offensive. Hitting at a SR of almost 200, RCB tried to force their way back into the game. Even though the team in red scored seven more runs than their opponents, the situation demanded much more so a 7.5 is all that I can muster for them.
Death bowling:- RCB 5/10 and CSK 7/10
If any team claims four wickets in the death, it would be fair to assume that they have done a great job. But not when the team in question is RCB. The team from Bangalore somehow managed to concede 53 runs in the last five overs despite Dhoni being the only true batsman at the crease. Don’t get me wrong, Dhoni did his part with 34 off 22 balls but it was the 26 runs off 11 balls by the combined forces of Brave, Thakur and Chahar that hurt RCB. Giving them a 5 seems generous but Morris’ two wicket four run over deserves the extra point.
Needing 70 runs off the final five was not going to be easy but RCB had been afforded a chance. Although seeing the first over, it seemed that they were not really interested in it as Bravo completed his quota giving up just four runs in his last over. The next two overs, however, ended up adding 26 runs to the score. Needing 48 off the last two overs, CSK might have felt slightly uneasy but that was taken care of by Chahar who cleaned up de Villiers, for a well made 40 off 27 balls, on the first ball of the 19th over to pretty much wrap up the game. It might not have been perfect but it was more than good enough to seal the win.
Match Frenzy O Meter - Good
While the first innings was an exciting affair, the second kind of let us down - apart from the AB cameo that is. Who knows if he had not been dismissed on the first ball of the penultimate over because the way he was playing, we could have been in for a close finish.
Cricket FootBall Kabaddi