By Suhas Nayse – SJFI Member
DUBAI: After three consecutive losses, which forced Chennai Super Kings out of reckoning for the playoff berth, the MS Dhoni-led side drubbed Royal Challengers Bangalore by eight wickets to bring smiles back on the fans’ faces. Ruturaj Gaikwad slammed an unbeaten 65 to steer CSK to their fourth win at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday.
Playing for pride after bowing out of contention, CSK put up a much better performance to halt the winning run of RCB. With eight points from 12 games, CSK must be hoping to finish the campaign on a winning note with similar show in the last two ties.
Chasing a competitive target of 146, CSK never looked in any kind of trouble as they romped home with eight balls and eight wickets to spare. The skills of Ruturaj Gaikwad was on full display in the match-winning innings. After a few failures, Gaikwad, a former India ‘A’ player, finally lived up to his potential to steer his side home. The 23-year-old Maharashtra batsman cracked an unbeaten 65 off 51 balls with the help of four boundaries and three sixes to stamp his authority in style.
Gaikwad and Ambati Rayudu added 67 runs for the second wicket to set up CSK’s easy win. Rayudu looked good for a good score but fell for 39. Dhoni (19 not out) smashed three fours before Gaikwad finished things up with a four and six. The youngster also bagged his maiden man-of-the-match award.
Beginning the chase, Faf du Plessis and Gaikwad stitched together 46 runs in quick time in the first five overs to provide a brisk start. CSK made RCB (14 points) wait with a strong performance.
Earlier CSK did incredibly well to restrict RCB to a meagre total of 145 for 6 with some outstanding bowling performance. After a solid beginning they could not capitalise as they mustered only 20 runs in the last three overs. Virat Kohli, who opted to bat, notched up another half-century and pummelled his 200th six in the IPL as he and AB de Villiers (39) piled up 82 runs for the third wicket.
Openers Devdutt Padikkal (22) and Aaron Finch (15) also batted well but failed to carry further. Pacemen Sam Curran (3-19), Deepak Chahar (2-31) and newcomer Mitchell Santner (1-23) bowled superbly.
Brief scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore 145 for 6 in 20 overs (Virat Kohli 50, AB de Villiers 39, Devdutt Padikkal 22, Aaron Finch 15; Sam Curran 3-19, Deepak Chahar 2-31, Mitchell Santner 1-23) lost to Chennai Super Kings 150 for 2 in 18.4 overs (Ruturaj Gaikwad 65 not out, Ambati Rayudu 39, Faf du Plessis 25, MS Dhoni 19 not out; Yuzvendra Chahal 1-21, Chris Morris 1-36) by 8 wickets. Man-of-the-match: Ruturaj Gaikwad (CSK).
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