On this day in 2009 - RCB beat CSK with clinical all-round performance
After the first five games of the 2009 season had yielded only one win, RCB’s season witnessed an incredible turnaround. The remaining nine games were laced with seven wins, four of which had come in succession in the last four games, and taken the team to the semifinals. They had a powerhouse of a team against them in Chennai Super Kings in their way to the finals. The scene was set for an epic showdown at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.
The spot in the finals was at stake, and it looked far away when Chennai raced off the gates. Having been put in to bat, Parthiv Patel and Matthew Hayden took 52 runs off the powerplay overs. It was Parthiv Patel who outscored his Australian partner, scoring 33 of those 52 runs off only 21 balls. RCB badly needed a breakthrough, and it was the Karnataka lad Vinay Kumar who put his hand up. He foxed Matthew Hayden with a slower delivery which he slogged down to Manish Pandey at deep mid-wicket. Ten balls later, Parthiv Patel was trapped leg-before by Jacques Kallis and RCB had begun to claw their way back into the game.
The two wickets had applied the brakes on Chennai innings and the run rate dipped to 7 an over by the end of the 12th over, as Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni looked to rebuild. Raina, who now had his eye in recognized the need to get a move on, and attacked Vinay Kumar, welcoming him to a new spell with a four and a six. Just when Raina was beginning to take toll, RCB skipper made an inspired bowling change, bringing on Praveen Kumar, who deceived his Uttar Pradesh teammate with a leg-cutter. Raina miscued the slog, and the top edge was safely pouched by the Protean Mark Boucher.
Despite Raina’s dismissal, RCB could not rest as long as MS Dhoni was at the crease. Dhoni’s eyes lit up when Roelof Van Der Merwe was given the ball with three overs left. He looked to launch a flighted delivery over long-on, but could not get the required elevation, and found Vinay Kumar at the fence who completed a crucial catch. Only two boundaries were scored off the last three overs, and RCB bowlers had restricted the powerful Chennai batting to 146.
Manish Pandey was awarded the player of the match for the second game in a row for his elegant 48 off 35 balls
147 runs and the Chennai bowling stood between RCB and a place in the final. Manish Pandey, full of confidence on the back of a century, creamed consecutive drives through the off-side field in the very first over to get RCB off the blocks. When Kallis replicated Pandey’s efforts, cracking a couple off the backfoot, RCB looked well poised to take the game away from Chennai in the powerplay itself. However Kallis, going for another expansive drive, edged one to Parthiv Patel behind the stumps to put an anti-climactic end to an elegant-looking opening stand. Roelof Van Der Merwe could not fulfill his duties at no.3 as he charged and missed an outswinger from Albie Morkel to see his stumps shattered.
With two wickets down inside the powerplay, RCB were in trouble. Manish Pandey was looking a million bucks but needed to stitch a steady partnership to take the team closer to the target. For that, he could not ask for a better partner than Mr. dependable Rahul Dravid at the other end. While Dravid looked to steady the rocked boat, Pandey was looking at his imperial best. Despite the need of the hour being a partnership, the Pandey-Dravid duo did not let the scoring rate plummet, playing stroke after stroke inspiring awe. The partnership put on 37 runs in 19 powerplay balls, and RCB had raced to 59 by the end of the sixth over.
With the asking rate now well under control, Dravid and Pandey went about batting through the middle overs sensibly. They put away the odd bad ball to the boundary but never forced themselves into displaying unnecessary bravado. The partnership of 72 runs was finally broken when Manish Pandey tried to sweep Shadab Jakati and missed. Pandey’s knock of 48 off 35 balls, had put Bangalore well on course, now requiring only 53 runs in 45 balls.
The dismissal of Pandey, however allowed Chennai to tighten the screws. With five overs to go, RCB needed 37 runs, and Dhoni brought back his main weapon, Muttiah Muralitharan back. The legendary Sri Lankan spinner had only conceded 5 runs from his first two overs. Rahul Dravid looked to sweep him off the first ball of his new spell but was trapped leg-before. The pressure was now well on RCB, as the rest of the over went for only 2 runs. The spinners were proving difficult to get away, and Dhoni persisted with the obnoxious spin of Suresh Raina, whose first two overs had only produced 9 runs. Virat Kohli and Ross Taylor saw the opportunity to knock off a few runs as they took on Suresh Raina. They both smashed him for a six each in the 17th over, relieving the pressure off RCB shoulders.
With only 20 required off the last 3 overs, all RCB needed to do was negotiate Muralitharan’s final over without any hiccups. Taylor and Kohli were well up to the task, as they milked him for a couple of singles before Virat Kohli danced down the track and deposited him over long-on for a huge six. A six off a no-ball of the first ball of the penultimate over meant the game was all but over. RCB knocked off the remaining runs needed with 7 balls to spare and sealed their spot in the final with a statement win over Chennai Superkings. The 24 runs off 17 balls by Virat Kohli that took the team home, was also a first glimpse on a senior stage of his ability to take the team through under pressure in a run-chase.