Akin to clockwork, CSK’s win came from last over for the third out of their last four outings. Against DD in Delhi on May 5 and MI in Mumbai on May 10, CSK had required an identical 11 runs for victory in the last over. On both occasions, the ever reliable MS Dhoni came handy. At Ranchi on May 13, CSK hosted RR, who chose to bat after winning the toss. As second nature, CSK dragged the match to the last over once again with a minor difference. This time they needed 11+1 with final-over finisher Dhoni out there as usual. In his now famous way, MSD finished the game with 2 balls remaining. Later that night, the game between RCB and DD at Bangalore was delayed by rains. However, the 20-over span was kept intact by umpires. RCB fans were delighted to watch another back-to-back batting brilliance from Yuvraj Singh, whose 4 sixes off the last over made the vital difference, as RCB beat Delhi.
In Ranchi, RR began promisingly with Ankit Sharma and Shane Watson putting on 60-run opening stand in good time, before Sharma got out. Though Ajinkya Rahane was unfortunately run out, Watson carried on until 13th over, before he fell for a typically quick 51 off 36 balls with 3 four and 4 sixes. Until then, RR were cruising along nicely but Watson’s departure brought an inexplicable slow down. Except Stuart Binny, the other later order batsmen were completely bogged down against CSK’s slow bowlers. The stars of the famous win against RCB; Faulkner and Smith fell cheaply as did the others. Most of them contrived to gift away their wickets to indiscreet shots. From over 8 runs until 12th over, the run-rate dropped to less than 7.5 in the end. With Karun Nair falling at 114 as the 4th wicket in 15th over, 4 RR wickets fell and only 33 could be added in the last 5 overs. Against CSK’s solid batting muscle, 148 could not have been called a defendable score with Dwayne Smith dictating terms early in the 149-run chase. Despite losing Brendon McCullum and Suresh Raina early, Smith carried on before getting out for an authoritative 44 off 35 balls with 5 fours and 2 sixes. Faf du Plessis took over from Smith with Ravichandran Ashwin, whom Dhoni promoted up in the order, ahead of himself. Kevon Cooper, and to some extent, Rajat Bhatia bowled economical spells to put the brakes for once. When du Plessis fell as the fifth wicket for 121, CSK needed 28 runs from 15 balls. For company, Dhoni had Ravindra Jadeja, who whacked a big six in the 19th over and reduced the pressure. CSK entered the last over with 12 required and Jadeja facing James Faulkner. A single from Jadeja brought Dhoni on strike. Dhoni dragged Faulkner’s second ball from off-side and hoisted it over the long-on boundary. Remaining 5 runs for victory were completed by good running between the wickets in the next two balls.
The second match at Bangalore’s Chinnaswamy stadium was delayed due to rains. Daredevils had won the toss and chosen to field. Umpires announced that they would be no curtailment in play. RCB, who have had a rough patch in the tournament and lost some matches after coming close to victory, began with the regular opening pair of Chris Gayle and Parthiv Patel. These two put on a 33-run stand, before Gayle was bowled by Rahul Shukla. Kohli failed once again but Patel carried on until the 13th over with AB de Villiers. When Patel got out for 29 off 28 balls, Yuvraj Singh walked in to join de Villiers. Yuvraj’s start was tentative but once de Villiers got out for 33 off 17 balls, rate of scoring dropped to around 7 by 16th over. In the 17th over, Yuvraj belted Imran Tahir to three consecutive sixes, all confident hits into the stands, and brought RCB back in the reckoning. Sachin Rana was good company to Yuvraj and the two added 14 in the 18th over. Next over from Sidhartha Kaul could only produce 9 runs for RCB but the last over brought big cheers to the Bangalore fans. Yuvraj lofted Rahul Shukla 4 times over the ropes and added 27 very vital runs. RCB finished with a challenging 186/4. Daredevils had an ominous first over from Muthaiya Muralitharan, in which they lost Vijay and in the second, Quinton de Kock fell to Mitchell Starc. Skipper Pietersen and his partner Mayank Agarwal steadied DD’s boat with a 63-run stand in 7.2 overs. But after KP and Agarwal got out with Dinesh Karthik coming a cropper, the task for DD was left to JP Duminy and Kedar Jadhav. They did their best but smart slow bowling from Chahal and Yuvraj kept the run-rate under check. It was difficult for DD to score 64 from the last 4 overs, although RCB lost from a similar position a couple of days ago. They were, however, determined not to let that happen again. When Starc bowled Duminy in 18th over, it was all over for DD. Despite efforts from young Jadhav, DD lost by 16 runs.
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