Kohli assault blows CSK away
Pleasing a crowd that braved a 3 hour rain delay, Virat Kohli and Zaheer Khan turned in emphatic displays as the Royal Challengers Bangalore clinched a 24 run win over Chennai Super Kings on Saturday night.
RCB are tied with Sunrisers Hyderabad on 18 points apiece. Though SRH have a game against Kolkata left their Net Run Rate is at very poor -0.031 to RCB's +0.457. A loss would bring that number down further and RCB could advance to the playoffs ahead on the basis of a better NRR.
The match, a must win game for RCB was reduced to 8 overs a side after a 3 hour rain break and MS Dhoni chose to bowl first after he won the toss.
Virat Kohli promoted himself as opener with Chris Gayle and immediately set about taking RCB to a total beyond Chennai’s reach. R Ashwin found good turn early but Kohli used his feet to play the offie and launch him for boundaries while Chris Gayle tucked into the pace offerings from Chris Morris and Jason Holder at the other end. The wickets of Gayle (28 13b 4x6) and AB de Villiers (5) were no respite for CSK’s bowlers as Moises Henriques continued the punishment, tucking into Mohit Sharma.
Kohli brought up his 50 off 28b and finished on 56* (29b 6x4 4x6) as Royal Challengers Bangalore racked up a massive 106/2 in their 8 overs.
MS Dhoni stuck to his plans, sending in Murali Vijay who is struggling for form with Michael Hussey to open the batting. Ravi Rampaul didn’t give away too many in the first over and Zaheer Khan got Michael Hussey and Suresh Raina off successive deliveries in the second, giving RCB a great start.
The required rate was past 17 now and Dwayne Bravo’s (11 9b 1x6) promotion didn’t help either. He top edged a short delivery from Vinay (1/10) for six but the edge off the next delivery landed safely in Saurabh Tiwary's hands at third man.
Chennai’s innings found some impetus when Vijay and Dhoni were batting together but Rampaul (1/20) returned to remove Vijay (32 19b 2x4 2x6) in the penultimate over. Dhoni hit a six out of the ground in the same over but Chennai still needed an improbable 40 off the last over.
Zaheer conceded a four and a six off the first two but had Dhoni (24 10b 2x4 2x6) caught at deep square leg off the fourth delivery, the sixth time he has dismissed him in the IPL. He finished the over with the wicket of Ravindra Jadeja, intercepting a pull to finish with 4/17 and seal a 24 run win over Chennai.
Virat Kohli has played these knocks before. His hundred against Sri Lanka in Hobart February 2012, his hundred against Pakistan in Dhaka in March 2012, his 50 against the same team in the 2012 World Twenty20 all temporarily kept India’s campaigns alive at these competitions. He will hope this knock, the first as a captain will go one step further and take RCB across the line.