Super Kings end RCB run

Chennai notch up 3-wicket victory to set up final clash with Mumbai Indians

Super Kings end RCB run

For the third time this season, Royal Challengers Bangalore couldn’t cross the Chennai Super Kings’ hurdle and thus their dream of winning their maiden Indian Premier League title remained just that.  

 On an admittedly difficult pitch, where R Ashwin purchased big turn from the second over of the match, Royal Challengers struggled their way to 139 for eight after being asked to bat first. Had they capitalised on the couple of genuine opportunities they had created early, the script, just perhaps, could have been different but the Bengaluru outfit had inflicted too much damage on itself by batting the way they did.

Super Kings, after a nervy start, managed to reach 140/7 with a ball to spare for a three-wicket win, shepherded beautifully by the veteran Michael Hussey (56, 45b, 3x4, 2x6). The Australian southpaw had been reprieved by stumper Dinesh Karthik, who while standing up to paceman David Wiese, had spilled an offer when the batsman was on 11. This wasn’t the only chance Royal Challengers squandered on the night. Chris Gayle had grassed Faf du Plessis (21) off the first ball he faced from S Arvind (1/25). The early life thrown at Hussey hardly took anything away from his calculated innings though. He hung on grimly and while the small nature of the target allowed him that luxury, he needed to summon all his experience to conquer both the conditions and a largely disciplined Royal Challengers’ attack. His dismissal ignited faint hopes for Royal Challengers but Dhoni (26) cut out all their escape routes. The chase did extend to the penultimate delivery but it was always a matter of when rather than if.

The title clash will be a repeat of Qualifier 1 as Super Kings, playing their sixth IPL final in eight years, will get a chance at redemption when they face their fiercest rivals Mumbai Indians on Sunday at the Eden Gardens.

The rub of the green wasn’t going Royal Challengers’ way even when they batted. AB de Villiers was done in by a blunder from umpire Anil Chaudhary. Coming as it did on the back of Virat Kohli’s dismissal off the first ball of the over by Ashish Nehra (3/28), it left Royal Challengers reeling at 25 for two at the end of the fifth over. While the twin blows pegged them back, Mandeep Singh’s inexperience was all at show when he went on his knee to sweep Ashwin and was left ruing the shot as Hussey flung forward to complete a good catch. Ashwin (4-0-13-1) was in his last over and a bit more patience, perhaps smart cricket, could have allowed him a longer stay in the middle.

Kohli was looking ominous with a four and six off Nehra while Gayle (41 off 43) had lifted the same bowler for a maximum in the previous over. The three quick dismissals, however, severely hurt their scoring rate as caution remained the buzz word. The Power Play yielded a mere 29 runs and they were 46 for three at the end of 10 overs. Unlike against Rajasthan Royals there was no de Villiers and nor was there any late flourish.

De Villiers’ show was cut before it could begin as Chaudhary upheld an lbw appeal by Nehra against the batsman when the ball not only had pitched outside the leg-stump but could well have gone above the woodwork as it struck above the knee on his back foot. Gayle, for the briefest of moment, left Super Kings an anxious lot when he smashed Raina for two successive sixes in the 14th over but he skied the third attempt back to the bowler, ending the remaining hopes of a winning RCB total.

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