MS Dhoni losing the toss for the Chennai Super Kings was the best thing that happened in Bangalore on Monday. The guy has a compulsive obsession about asking the opposition to bat first and firmly believes in chasing the targets. But his luck with the coin proved beneficial as CSK delivered their all-time best batting performance in posting an unbeatable total of 242. In T20 history, no one has ever successfully chased that kind of score. The closest match that comes to mind is Sussex successfully chasing an intimidating 226-run target against Essex in the domestic T-20 cricket in England during 2008. In Bangalore on Monday, the CSK batsmen went on a rampage to post 242 in 20 overs. Any side batting second, would have found the chase difficult and despite the heroics, Dolphins fell way short of the final target. But the run-fest was the single biggest source of entertainment for Bangalorians, who enjoyed every minute of the interesting duel.
The CSK openers, Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith appeared as usual for Super Kings and Dolphin’s Keshav Maharaj was entrusted with the new ball. On the 4th ball of the innings, Dwayne Smith lifted Maharaj over the long on for a huge six and tried a repeat of the same shot on the next ball. This time, however, he failed to strike from the middle of his bat and just managed a top-edge that was nicely taken in the deep mid-wicket by Zondo. One-drop batsman Suresh Raina walked to the middle and joined Brendon McCullum. The two known ruthless strikers of the ball got into the act and ransacked the bowling to put on 91 in 8.3 overs before McCullum departed at 49, scored off 29 balls with 5 fours and 3 sixes. But Raina continued in the same vein. Raina’s blistering 43-ball 90 was the foundation of CSK’s final score of 242/6 and the 54-run win over the Dolphins. Nothing looked difficult as long as Raina and McCullum continued. Next man Faf du Plessis was equally effective as he whacked 30 in 19 balls. Raina got out in the 15th over after hitting 4 fours and 8 sixes but unfortunately, Dhoni got out for a duck in the same over. CSK, however, didn’t relent on the explosive performance from each of their batsmen. Faf du Plessis perished in the 16th over, when CSK had reached 190/5. With Ravindra Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo in the middle, another 32 were added in 11 balls before Bravo got out in the 18th over. But Jadeja and Ashwin continued the batting blitz to take CSK to a massive 242/6 in 20 overs. Jadeja blasted 40 off 14 balls with 3 fours and 3 sixes.
Taking up a monumental 243 run chase for victory, Dolphins didn’t do badly either. Despite losing both openers; Morne Van Wyk and Delport, they reached 50 in the third over itself in what can be termed as one of the fastest starts in a T20 innings in recent memory. Wyk faced just 7 balls for his 17 and Delport 9 for a murderous 34. Between the two of them, they sent the ball out of the field for 10 times, including 3 hits via the aerial route. Though Maharaj got out early, Cody Chetty and Vaughn Jaarsweld added 38 off 28 and 30 off 22 respectively. Ashish Nehra and Mohit Sharma were clobbered for 81 in their 8 overs while the slow bowlers; Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Suresh Raina went for 88 in their combined 8 overs. Dolphins had crossed nearly half the victory mark in the 11th over and looked set to overhaul CSK but the advent of Dwayne Bravo soured thing up for them. Bravo brought about a mini collapse in the middle overs and removed the two danger men Chetty and Jaarsveld. He bowled economically, conceding just 17 runs in 4 and ending up with 2 wickets. Much as the Dolphins tried, the target proved to be too stiff. Dolphins lost all their wickets by the end of 20 overs and lost the match by 54 runs. But the South African outfit deserved full credit for taking the challenge head-on and didn’t surrender without a fight to the very end.