RCB vs CSK, IPL 2024: Royal Challengers Bengaluru trumps Chennai Super Kings to clinch final playoff spot

When Royal Challengers Bengaluru went on a five-match winning run after hanging on to its fingernails for much of the season, even its most ardent fans wouldn’t have believed that their team’s stars had aligned.

But on Saturday at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, the most definitive proof for it emerged as RCB beat Chennai Super Kings by 27 runs to qualify for the playoffs.

Rain didn’t play spoilsport as it was expected to. RCB lost the toss and yet put on a splendid batting show. And even the best efforts of Ravindra Jadeja (42 n.o., 22b, 3×4, 3×6) and MS Dhoni (25, 13b, 3×4, 1×6) couldn’t salvage things for CSK.

RCB made 218, effectively setting CSK 201 to qualify. Jadeja and Dhoni took their side from 129 for six after 15 overs to 184 for six after 19. When Dhoni smashed the first ball of Yash Dayal’s last over out of the ground, it appeared as if RCB had contrived to miss out. But Dayal dismissed Dhoni and held his nerve to carry his side through.

CSK, in fact, appeared well placed at 85 for two with Rachin Ravindra (61b, 37b, 5×4, 3×6) and Ajinkya Rahane (33, 22b, 3×4, 1×6) batting. But it slumped to 119 for five as Lockie Ferguson prised out Rahane, Shivam Dube struggled (7, 15b) and Ravindra was run out. Dhoni Jadeja brought CSK close, but it was not to be.

AS IT HAPPENED – RCB vs CSK

Earlier, RCB’s PowerPlay (42 runs) was punctuated by a 41-minute rain break and batting on either side seemed like chalk and cheese. The ball gripped and turned after the interruption as Maheesh Theekshana and Mitchell Santner revelled.

Only when the length was marginally fuller did the scoreboard tick, with Virat Kohli (47, 29b, 3×4, 4×6) collecting two slog-swept sixes. A third such attempt to hit against the turn, however, cost him.

Rajat Patidar joined skipper Faf du Plessis (54, 39b, 3×4, 3×6) and was quickly off the blocks, smashing Theekshana over long-off and Simarjeet Singh over fine-leg. But an unfortunate run out ended du Plessis’ stay, curtailing an ominous-looking association.

Cameron Green (38 n.o., 17b, 3×4, 3×6) and Patidar (41, 23b, 2×4, 4×6) put on 71 runs from just 28 balls, with Ruturaj Gaikwad even dropping the burly Australian on 18. Cameos from Dinesh Karthik (14, 6b, 1×4, 1×6) and Glenn Maxwell (16, 5b, 2×4, 1×6) gave RCB the cushion which ultimately proved worthy of qualification.

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