MS Dhoni went past 4000 runs as skipper and also registered his highest individual Twenty20 score but Chennai Super Kings fell short by one run against Royal Challengers Bangalore. (Image credit: Twitter)
Chennai Super Kings needed 26 runs in the last over against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL 2019 encounter at the M Chinnaswamy stadium on Sunday. Yet, the Chennai Super Kings helpful did not lose faith. They had MS Dhoni, a finisher of freakish proportions. In the 2017 IPL, playing for Rising Pune Supergiant, Dhoni had blasted 23 runs in the final over bowled by Axar Patel which included two sixes in the final two balls to give his side an epic win. In Bangalore 2019, he was facing Umesh Yadav. The first ball was dispatched for a boundary to deep midwicket. 22 runs needed off 5 and the hopes stayed alive.
The next ball was short and Dhoni hit the ball on the roof at deep midwicket, 16 runs needed off four balls. The third ball was hammered to wide long on and the equation boiled to 10 off three balls. Dhoni had put on his stick cricket mode and Virat Kohli was feeling the pressure. After a couple on the fourth ball, Dhoni launched yet another six and Chennai Super Kings needed two off one ball. The fans, those supporting Chennai Super Kings and those supporting Royal Challengers Bangalore, had contrasting moods. Chennai Super Kings fans were delirious as they were witnessing yet another freakish act. Royal Challengers Bangalore were dumbstruck.
Two runs needed off one ball and Umesh Yadav bowls a slow off-cutter. Dhoni misses and tries to run a bye. Dhoni makes it at the other end but Shardul Thakur is just caught short by a direct hit from Parthiv Patel and Royal Challengers Bangalore had finally broken the jinx. They had won a game against Chennai Super Kings for the first time since 2014 and their seven-game losing streak against the three-time champions ended with this one-run win.
Parthiv’s direct throw was as dramatic as the dash Dhoni himself had done to run out Mustafizur Rahman in the 2016 World T20 game which India won by one run against Bangladesh. The fact that the victory margin and the way how the wicket fell on the final ball at the same venue was perhaps poetic justice.
In a way, Chennai Super Kings had hurt their own cause when they lost too many wickets at the start of the innings. Dale Steyn accounted for Shane Watson and Suresh Raina off successive deliveries while Umesh Yadav also took two wickets. Ambati Rayudu and Dhoni steadied the ship with a partnership of over 50 but just when Chennai Super Kings looked in control, Rayudu fell to Yuzvendra Chahal at a crucial time. Ravindra Jadeja sacrificed his wicket but Dhoni stole the show with some amazing hitting. Despite all his freakish efforts, Chennai Super Kings could not chase down 162, a total made possible due to Parthiv’s fine effort.
Chennai Super Kings bowled and Deepak Chahar got rid of Virat Kohli with a wide away-swinger for nine. AB de Villiers struck some big blows but he fell to Ravindra Jadeja. Amidst all this, Parthiv held firm and his fifty, combined with Moeen Ali’s crucial cameo of 26 at the end ensured Royal Challengers Bangalore had a total to defend. In the end, it proved to be enough. Only just.