CSK knocked out as RCB win six in a row to make playoffs

Yash Dayal held his nerve and gave away just seven runs in the final over to help RCB seal a thriller

Royal Challengers Bengaluru 218 for 5 (Du Plessis 54, Kohli 47, Patidar 41, Green 38, Thakur 2-61) beat Chennai Super Kings 191 for 7 (Ravindra 61, Jadeja 42*, Dayal 4-42) by 27 runs

Virat Kohli was nearly in tears. Faf du Plessis could not contain his joy. MS Dhoni was nowhere to be seen after the game. All of it summed up the drama of the night in Bengaluru, as Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) won their sixth game on the trot in IPL 2024 to knock Chennai Super Kings (CSK) out and make the playoffs.

RCB have been in this situation many times – needing a win in their last league match to make it to the knockouts. They were at the same venue last year, where they managed to post a tall score featuring a Kohli century, only for a Shubman Gill ton to overshadow it all and knock them out. On Saturday, they found themselves in a similar situation again.

RCB were asked to bat first. They posted 218 and needed to win by at least 18 runs to knock CSK out. They were helped by blazing starts from Kohli and du Plessis with cameos from Rajat Patidar and Cameron Green

CSK came within touching distance. They needed 10 off the last two balls to qualify with Ravindra Jadeja, the batter who hit a six and four to win CSK their fifth title last year, on strike. But Yash Dayal bowled two off-pace length balls to deny Jadeja and CSK. This was after being taken for a massive six on the first ball of the last over by MS Dhoni, and then using the back-of-the-hand slower one to have him caught at deep square leg.

CSK hopes dipped at that moment and RCB never let them back.

Kohli, du Plessis and the rain break

Kohli has reinvented himself this season like none other. He is leading not just the pack of run-scorers this season (708) but also that of six-hitters with 37 to his name. Tushar Deshpande delivered a couple of length ball that he duly deposited into the stands. Du Plessis also struck one off Shardul Thakur when rain hit pause on RCB’s charge at 31 for 0 in three overs.

The 40-minute intervention seemed to have changed the track, with both Maheesh Theekshana and Mitchell Santner bowling seven dots in the two overs since resumption. RCB finished the powerplay at 42 for none, their joint-lowest score this season alongside the 42 for 3 they made against CSK in the season opener.

Kohli tried to break the shackles with sixes off Santner and Ravindra Jadeja but holed out to wide long-on. Du Plessis, though, hit two sixes and a four of a Jadeja over to get to a 35-ball fifty after being on 29 off 28 at one point.

Patidar, Green and a tall finish

That Patidar takes down spin is an open secret, and he proved it with a massive hit over long-off off Theekshana, who was the most economical CSK bowler. But he loves playing fast bowlers more. And that facet came to the fore with the ease he hit Simarjeet Singh for a four and six off successive balls. He continued his unhindered strokeplay against Deshpande and Thakur to super-charge RCB’s progress, along with Green, who showed his power game to full effect.

Green slapped Simarjeet through point before hammering Theekshana straight down the ground. He then hit Thakur for back-to-back sixes as RCB crossed 200 for the sixth time this season, becoming the third team to do so in an IPL season

The result? CSK leaked 63 at the death (overs 17 to 20), the most they conceded in the phase in the entire season. The presence of dew meant they were not able to grip the ball and use the assistance the pitch had, especially when off-pace length balls were dug in.

Dinesh Karthik and Mohammed Siraj celebrate RCB’s win • BCCI

Ravindra and Jadeja, the bright spots in the chase

After Glenn Maxwell, brought back in place of Will Jacks, struck first ball to have Ruturaj Gaikwad caught at short fine leg. Dayal then had Daryl Mitchell miscue to wide mid-off. CSK’s charge in the powerplay was led by Rachin Ravindra , with some assistance from Ajinkya Rahane.

Rahane targeted Dayal and hit a six and two perfectly-timed fours off him. He added 66 off 41 for the third wicket with Ravindra, whose gameplan seemed quite simple – to slice the length balls square through off.

Like he did and succeeded against Maxwell in the first over. He would use even the slightest of width – like Mohammed Siraj provided in the fourth over – to thrash it through point, while the short-of-good-length ones would either be ramped over short third or heaved through midwicket. He brought up his half-century off 31 balls and looked good to be the difference, before a mix-up with Shivam Dube saw him be run out.

Thereon, dew was a constant presence in the middle, which made RCB reluctant to bowl spin. That helped Ravindra Jadeja , who walked in after Ravindra’s dismissal, to get into the groove quickly. An off drive against Green got him going before hit a six each of Dayal, Siraj and Lockie Ferguson. Despite middling almost everything, it was not enough to see the side through.

Contrasting middle overs

In hindsight, the middle overs proved to be the difference between the two teams. It was the phase in which Patidar and Green showed RCB the way. It was the phase were RCB scored boundaries at will. It was the phase that set them up for a tall final flourish with the bat.

RCB scored 113 runs in overs 7 to 16, and lost just two wickets. But CSK could not quite capitalise in the phase, and could score only 80. What’s more, they lost four wickets in the phase, one each in the 12th, 13th and the 14th to be devoid of any momentum. One of those was all du Plessis’ brilliance. Mitchell Santner had creamed a lofted off drive off Siraj that seemed to clear mid-off. But du Plessis swiftly moved to his right and timed his leap perfectly to pluck out a one-handed stunner. CSK, as a result, went from 115 for 3 to 129 for 6 in the space of 13 balls.

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