RCB survives a scare to grab final IPL play-off berth with 27-win over CSK


PTI, May 19, 2024, 8:00 AM IST

Bengaluru: Royal Challengers Bengaluru continued their fairytale run to grab the fourth and final play-off berth with a 27-run victory over defending champions Chennai Super Kings in their must-win last IPL league game here on Saturday.

It was the sixth straight win for RCB, who first posted a solid 218 for five after being invited to bat and then restricted CSK to 191 for 7 to make it to the play-offs for the ninth time in 15 seasons.

RCB survived a scare as Ravindra Jadeja (42 not out) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (25) had conjured up hopes of a turnaround after Rachin Ravindra’s 61 but Yash Dayal held his nerves in the final over to take the hosts home.

Kolkata Knight Riders, Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad have already qualified for the play-offs.

While it was ecstasy for RCB, the legion of fans of Dhoni sank into despair as it could potentially be the last time they witnessed their ‘Thala’ perform on a cricket field.

Down and out after losing seven out of their first eight games, RCB had weaved five wins on the trot to script a remarkable turnaround and give themselves a chance to make it to the final four.

On Saturday, the hosts needed to win by at least 18 runs to book the final play-off berth and they did that in style with yet another impressive show at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.

The two teams finished at 14 points but RCB sneaked into the final four on the basis of a better net run-rate.

The equation was in favour of CSK when they began their run-chase as a 200-plus score would have sealed their place in the final four at the expense of RCB even if they had lost the game.

However, CSK lost skipper Ruturaj Gaikwad (0) and Daryl Mitchell (4) to be reduced to 19 for 2 in the third over.

Ajinkya Rahane (33) and Ravindra (61) steadied the innings with a 64-run stand but Lockie Ferguson broke the partnership as the former was holed out by du Plessis and then the New Zealander was run out.

Du Plessis then took a screamer to remove Mitchell Santner as CSK slipped to 129 for 6 in 15 overs.

With their backs to the wall, Jadeja and Dhoni added a whirlwind 61 off 27 balls to bring the equation down to 11 off five balls to qualify for the play-offs.

With CSK needing 17 runs off the last six balls to qualify, Yash Dayal bowled the final over and he was straight away smashed for a six by Dhoni but the pacer came back strongly to dismiss the former CSK skipper and then conceded just one run in next five balls to seal it for RCB.

Earlier, sent in to bat, RCB’s top-order, led by skipper du Plessis, fired in unison.

Du Plessis hit three fours and three sixes on his way to a 39-ball 54, his fourth fifty of the season, while Virat Kohli (47 off 29 balls), Rajat Patidar (41 off 23 balls) and Cameron Green (38 not out off 17 balls) also went on a six-hitting spree to put RCB on solid ground.

Openers Kohli and du Plessis began on a positive note and were 31 for no loss when there was a short rain interruption, causing a 40-minute delay.

However, on resumption, CSK pressed spinners into the attack. With the ball gripping and turning, spin duo of Maheesh Theekshana (25/0) and Mitchell Santner (23/0) troubled the batters as RCB reached 42 for no loss at the end of the Powerplay.

Kohli brought out his slog sweep to clobber two more sixes before holing out to Daryl Mitchell off Santner as RCB slipped to 78 for one in 10 overs.

Ravindra Jadeja (40/0 in 3 overs) was however slaughtered by du Plessis, who blasted a four and two sixes to pile up 20 runs off his third over and then completed his 35-ball fifty.

Rajat Patidar (41) then got into the act, depositing Theekshana for a maximum.

In the 13th over, du Plessis was unfortunately run out at the bowler’s end but Patidar continued his onslaught, smashing Simarjeet Singh for a four and a six, while Thakur conceded 17 with Green thumping one over long-on to bring up the 150.

Green was, however, dropped by Gaikwad in the deep but Patidar continued to put the bowler under pressure as he smoked Deshpande for two sixes.

Green then picked up successive sixes off Thakur, who had Patidar caught at the other end but it was too late as cameos from Dinesh Kartik (14) and Glenn Maxwell (16) swelled the total.

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