Indian T20 League: Chennai ease past Bangalore

Chennai took a giant step towards the Indian T20 League playoffs after cruising to a six-wicket victory against Bangalore at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Friday. The three-time winners picked up a seventh win in the season and climbed back to the top of the points table. Meanwhile, Bangalore succumbed to a third successive defeat in the tournament. However, Virat Kohli and company remain third in the standings.

Dwayne Bravo claimed a three-wicket haul, which dented Bangalore’s hope of posting a mammoth total. The veteran all-rounder, who grabbed the prize wickets of Kohli and Glenn Maxwell, stemmed the run flow in the middle overs. The Chennai top-order was back amongst runs after a shambolic performance against Mumbai in their UAE leg opener. Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni wrapped up the chase with 11 balls to spare.

A 111-run stand

Bangalore openers Kohli and Padikkal were dominant against Chennai seamers as they racked up 55 runs in the powerplay. Deepak Chahar gave away five boundaries in his first two overs, while Padikkal cleared the ropes off Hazlewood. Dhoni brought on Jadeja, but the 21-year-old and the Bangalore skipper maintained the brisk pace. The partnership was worth 90 at the halfway point of the innings.

Padikkal and Kohli brought up their half-centuries with a boundary. The Karnataka batsman clinched his sixth Indian T20 League fifty, and the Indian captain was a few runs away from becoming the fifth player to reach 10,000 T20 runs. The duo also registered their second 100-run stand in the tournament.

5/45 in 7 overs

With Bangalore headed towards a huge total, Dhoni brought back Bravo into the attack. He broke the opening stand after Kohli’s attempted big hit ended up in the hands of Ravindra Jadeja. The runs dried up suddenly. Bangalore lost the wickets of De Villiers and Padikkal in quick succession. They were 140/3 in 17 overs with Maxwell and debutant Tim David at the crease.

Chennai bowlers restricted Bangalore to 156/6. Maxwell, who struck a six off Bravo’s third over, managed to add only 11 runs to the total. David and Harshal, too, were dismissed in the death overs. Chennai bossed the middle-overs as they conceded just 45 runs since removing Kohli in the 14th over. Bravo finished with figures of 3/24 in his four overs.

Chennai dominate

The Chennai top-order made up for their poor show against Mumbai. Faf du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad were off to a flier in the run chase. They added 59 runs in the powerplay. Du Plessis dictated terms to Navdeep Saini, hitting two sixes and as many fours. At the other end, Gaikwad scored 11 runs in Hasaranga’s opening over and struck boundaries off Mohammed Siraj and Harshal.

Bangalore found a way back when Yuzvendra Chahal and Maxwell grabbed a wicket each in the space of a few balls. Kohli took an excellent diving catch to dismiss Gaikwad. Du Plessis’ attempted sweep went straight to Saini at short fine leg. The new pair Moeen Ali and Ambati Rayudu, too, had no trouble finding boundaries. Rayudu got off the mark with a four, while Moeen took Chahal to the cleaners.

The duo continued to punish the slow bowlers. Ali hammered Hasaranga, scoring 12 runs off the Sri Lankan spinner’s third over. Chennai moved to 112/2 in 13 overs. Harshal, the tournament’s leading wicket-taker, claimed the wicket of Moeen and ended the quickfire stand. With 32 needed off 30 balls, Rayudu scored consecutive fours off Harshal. However, the Bangalore medium pacer dismissed Rayudu for 32.

Raina, who took three catches in the match, and Dhoni steered Chennai home in the 19th over. It was a comprehensive performance from the men in yellow, who won seven of their last eight games in the tournament. Bangalore will be disappointed with the meek surrender after the openers put on a century stand. Both teams will be in action on Sunday. Chennai meets in-form Kolkata, and Kohli’s men will lock horns with Mumbai.

Bravo at it again

Bravo, like a fine wine, is getting better with age. It was the 37-year-old who brought Chennai back in the game with another fantastic performance with the ball. He sent Kohli back to the dressing room and kept Maxwell at bay in the death overs. Only two runs came in the final over of the innings, and he removed Maxwell and Harshal.

Bangalore 156/6 in 20 overs (D Padikkal 70, V Kohli 53; D Bravo 3/24, S Thakur 2/29)

Chennai 157/4 in 18.1 overs (R Gaikwad 38, A Rayudu 32, F du Plessis 31; H Patel 2/25)

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