Sir Ravindra Jadeja proved his worth on Saturday.
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CHENNAI: It ended bizarrely, but for the most part Chennai Super Kings and Royals Challengers Bangalore provided an amazing contest that lasted all of 40 overs. Chasing 165, Chennai looked dead and gone and needed 16 to win off RP Singh's last over when Ravindra Jadeja smote ten off the first two balls. A couple, sandwiched between singles, left the requirement on two to win and one to tie off the last ball.
Jadeja cut the last delivery straight to Virat Kohli at third man, but the umpire called a no-ball as RP had over-stepped by a mile. Since the batsmen had crossed, Chennai won a thriller by four wickets, something that looked unlikely when they were 78/4 in the 13th over.
But MS Dhoni (33) and Jadeja (38*) added a lightning-quick 59 in under six overs to raise home hopes, and 30 were needed off the last two overs.
Ravi Rampaul claimed Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo in the 19th, leaving Jadeja - and the unfortunate no-ball - to take care of things in RP's final over. Bangalore had earlier found their fate hanging on the bats of Virat Kohli (58) and AB de Villiers (64), who provided a thrilling finish to the first innings. The visitors scored 64 in the first ten overs, and 101 in the last ten, thanks mainly to their 82-run stand in eight overs after two early wickets.
Chennai struggled and played several dot balls early on. They heaved to 31/2 after the Powerplay, having lost Murali Vijay (a feathered caught behind off Ravi Rampaul) and Michael Hussey (a pull straight into the hands of deep square-leg) for a painfully slow two and six respectively.
The first boundary of the chase came in the fifth over and Raina smacked three more in Vinay’s next. Badri looked scratchy initially, but hit his straps with a pull off Daniel Christian and then stepped out to cart Murali Karthik back over his head.
A mounting required rate compelled Raina to go after left-arm spinner Syed Mohammad, whom he top-eded to short third man for Chennai’s third wicket. Badri’s accruing fluency too was stubbed by Mohammad, the batsman's loft through the off-side being judged perfectly by a diving Mayank Agarwal at cover.
Dhoni was Chennai’s last hope. He deposited RP Singh from outside off and into the stands to get going and entered the last five overs – alongside favourite protégé Ravindra Jadeja – with Chennai needing 65 to win.
Dhoni’s decision to field paid off when the danger man Chris Gayle(4) was caught behind in the second over of the evening. South Africa seamer Chris Morris, one of Chennai’s latest acquisitions, claimed Gayle on an outside edge, after which Ravichandran Ashwin and Dhoni combined to engineer the downfall of Manish Agrawal (24), via a stumping.
Kohli made the most of his chances and de Villers extended his phenomenal run. The two hared between the wickets and Bangalore’s tempestuous captain, who had a run-in with KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir in their last match, was handed a reprieve when, on 30, his bottom-edge to Dhoni was disregarded by umpire AK Chowdhary in Dwayne Bravo’s first over.
Four runs away from a half-century, Kohli was dropped by Bravo off his own bowling. De Villiers meanwhile was as ingenuous in the middle as he was classy, with paddles, outright slogs and drives speckling his 32-ball knock.
Such was his form that he eclipsed even Kohli, who finally perished after reaching fifty when he charged Morris and edged to Dhoni. A minor collapse followed as Daniel Christian and Ravi Rampaul did absolutely nothing to either embellish or to disrupt the de Villiers masterclass in progress at the other end.
The South African No.4 batsman brought up his half-century in 26 balls with a six off Morris, as 20 came from the 19th over, and was out on the last ball of the innings – caught at cover off Dirk Nannes – having driven Bangalore to 165/6.