Mahendra Singh Dhoni once again showed his prowess was not on the wane as he blazed his way to a 34-ball 70 and powered Chennai Super Kings to a five-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League on Wednesday.
Opener Ambati Rayudu laid the foundation with a sparkling 82 off 53 balls, hitting eight sixes and three fours. CSK needed 16 runs in the last over and Dhoni hit a six, his seventh of the night, to see his team through after Dwayne Bravo struck and a boundary and a six.
Batting first, RCB notched up a competitive 205 for eight riding on Ad de Villiers 30-ball 68 and Quinton de Kock’s 53, but CSK chased down the target with two balls to spare.
Dhoni remained not out with seven maximums and a boundary, after adding 101 runs for the fifth wicket with Rayudu.
Chennai Super Kings were off to a bad start with Pawan Negi sending back Shane Watson with just eight runs on the board.
A 42-run partnership ensued between Ambati Rayudu and Suresh Raina before the experienced left-handed batsman fell for 11 in the sixth over.
Sam Billings came and went back to the dugout for the addition of just nine runs to the team total, while Ravindra Jadeja was bowled by Yuzvendra Chahal to leave CSK in a spot of bother at 74 for four.
However, Rayudu and skipper Dhoni had other ideas as the duo staged a fine recovery before bringing CSK right back into the game.
A flurry of sixes flowed from the blades of Rayudu and Dhoni as they constructed their innings keeping the required run rate in mind.
Umesh Yadav dropping a sitter to give Rayudu a life off Corey Anderson made things miserable for RCB as the batsman took full advantage of that by hitting the bowler for two successive sixes in the same over.
Before that, Pawan Negi was blasted for 19 runs with Dhoni using his strong bottom hand and power to hit two sixes, while Rayudu also got himself one maximum.
71 runs were required from the last five overs and the equation was brought down to 55 from 24 after that eventful 16th over by Anderson.
With CSK needing 45 from 18 balls, Dhoni hit a six to keep his team in the hunt, but Umesh made amends for his drop catch by running out Rayudu with a direct hit to bring another twist to the game.
Despite scoring 15 runs in the previous over, CSK needed 30 in the last two overs. CSK managed 16 ff the penultimate over, thanks to some dreadful bowling by Mohammed Shiraj, who conceded two wides and a no ball.
Bravo and Dhoni then finished the job.
Earlier, De Villiers smashed 68 off 30 balls, hitting eight sixes and two fours during his onslaught, while de Kock made 53 off 37 deliveries with the help of four sixes and a boundary.
RCB’s was a strange inning as it saw two wicket-maiden overs and a triple-wicket final over, which also fetched the home team 14 runs. The middle overs, though, were thoroughly dominated by the batsmen.
CSK got the big wicket of RCB skipper Virat Kohli when Shardul Thakur had him caught at mid-on by a diving Ravindra Jadeja with the score reading 35 at the start of the fifth over. Kohli had reached 2000 IPL runs before he was dismissed for 18.
CSK’s joy was short-lived as de Villiers joined forces with compatriot de Kock to flay the visiting team’s bowling attack.
De Villiers smashed Thakur for three consecutive sixes to bring the home crowd to its feet.
However, Dwayne Bravo brought some relief to the CSK camp when he had de Kock superbly caught and bowled with a slower ball.
The end of a 135-run partnership triggered a collapse of sorts as big fish de Villiers holed out to a short Imran Tahir ball that was going away.
From 138 for one at the start of 14th over, RCB slumped to 142 for four, following which Mandeep Singh (32 of 17 balls) and Washington Sundar (13 off 4) propped up the home team.