The magic of MS Dhoni’s return as Chennai Super Kings (CSK) seemed to have gotten faded as the defending champions succumbed to a 13-run defeat against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on Wednesday at MCA Stadium in Pune. While Faf du Plessis & Co took their points tally to 12 after the victory, jumping up to the fourth spot on the table, Chennai keep reeling on the 9th spot, the second last.
The CSK spinners did a splendid job in restricting RCB to 173 for 8 in 20 overs. But in reply, the batter failed to replicate the performance they produced against Sunrisers Hyderabad in their last encounter.
The duo of Ruturaj Gaikwad and Dewon Conway looked confident and put a half-century stand for the opening wicket. However, the camaraderie was dented by Shahbaz Ahmed right after the powerplay. The RCB got the better of Ruturaj for a 23-ball 28 in the 7th over.
The fall of Ruturaj sparked a collapse of the CSK batting line-up. The batters couldn’t form a solid partnership to steer the chase. Harshal Patel registered figures of 3 for 35 while Glenn Maxwell picked up 2 wickets as Dhoni & Co could muster 160/8 in 20 overs.
Conway provided some resistance with a 37-ball 56 but he was sent back to the hut by Maxwell.
With 56 needed off the last five overs, Ravindra Jadeja tried to up the ante but the all-rounder, who has struggled with form all season, hit a slow delivery by Patel over cover straight to Kohli’s hands.
RCB’s death over specialist then struck again, this time getting rid off the dangerous Ali, who was slowing finding his groove.
When Dhoni walked in CSK needed 52 off 24 balls which soon became 39 from the last two overs. The talismanic leader, however, couldn’t get his side over the line.
Earlier, the CSK spin duo of Moeen Ali and Maheesh Theekshana spun a web around Royal Challengers Bangalore batters to restrict them to 173 for 8. The CSK spinners made full use of skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s decision to bowl first as a fit-again Ali (2/28) and Theekshana (3/27) shared five wickets between them.
While Ali rattled the top-order getting rid of the opening pair of Virat Kohli (30 off 33) and Faf Du Plessis (38 off 22), Theekshana snapped three wickets in the penultimate over. Dwaine Pretorius (1/42) was the other wicket-taker for CSK.
Mahipal Lamror was the top-scorer as he smashed a 27-ball 42 while Dinesh Karthik (26 not out off 17) hit some lusty blows towards the end to help RCB go past the 170-run mark. Kohli and du Plessis (38 off 22) batted with authority as the two veterans pummelled the inexperienced pace duo of Mukesh Choudhary (0/30) and Simarjeet Singh (0/21) in the Powerplay.
(With PTI Inputs)