It was the clash of the Titans, the much-expected game between the Chennai Super Kings and the Royal Challengers Bangalore at Sharjah. Both the teams were well placed in the points table, in the second and third positions respectively. Virat Kohli, after the recent announcements, is desperate to prove himself as a leader before signing off from the RCB captaincy.
Dhoni, as always is cool and composed to bring home yet another trophy. The CSK won the toss and decided to field first. The Royal Challengers had a blistering start with Kohli and Padikkal giving them an opening partnership of more than 100 runs. Both the openers were at their best and both of them crossed their half-centuries. It took 13 overs for the CSK bowlers to take the first wicket of the RCB.
Once Virat Kohli walked back to the pavilion for 53, things took a U-turn as RCB lost back to back wickets due to which the run rate slowed down. Padikkal was gone for 70 and no other batsman could make any impact after that. Bravo was the star with the ball as he picked up 3 wickets. From 111/0 in 13 overs, the RCB faced a collapse of getting reduced to 156/6 in their 20 overs.
157 was never going to be a tough target for the in-form CSK and it was evident with their approach. Ruturaj and Faf du Plessis gave a solid opening partnership of 71 runs before losing their wickets back to back. RCB had a little ray of hope when CSK were at 71/2. But Moeen Ali and Rayudu didn't give the boys in red much of a chance.
Both of them were attacking the bowling line-up consistently and this took the team close to the target. When Moeen and Rayudu were dismissed, the required amount of runs were pretty much lesser for Raina and Dhoni to finish it off in style. The CSK emerged victorious by 6 wickets with 2 overs to spare, returning back to the top of the points table with seven victories in nine matches. Dhoni's army has been advancing towards the playoffs as another feather is awaiting to get added to his captaincy.
More than tasting back to back victories, Dhoni was happy to see his fleet getting back to the battle with deep understanding. Dhoni has attributed the triumph against the RCB to the players' hard work and understanding of their roles and responsibilities. He said, "Our players have worked hard, they have understood their roles and responsibilities. Over here, the three grounds are different. This is the slowest of all. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are different. So the players have been adapting."
"We were worried about the dew. So whenever there's a chance of dew, we want to bat second. They got off to a good start but after the ninth over, the wicket slowed down. You still had to bowl tight, and Jadeja's spell was important with Padikkal batting on one end. After that Bravo, Josh, Shardul, Deepak were brilliant. It's always on the back of your mind which bowler can be effective over here", Dhoni added. Praising Bravo, Dhoni said, "Bravo has turned up fit- that's a very good thing. And he is executing well. I call him my brother."
After conceding the defeat, Kohli said, "175 could have been a winning total. The pitch had a lot to offer but our bowlers could not make use. They got away with too many boundary opportunities. They bowled well in their back-end and executed the yorkers when needed." "It was difficult for us to get elevation, and only bad balls could be put away. We then gave too many boundary balls. We spoke of areas we didn't want them to hit, but we couldn't do that", Kohli added.