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David Hussey was doing commentary till last week. On Sunday, CSK skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni brought him on to bowl the final over against Royal Challengers Bangalore with Yuvraj Singh on strike and 10 runs needed. The left-hander hit the first ball out of the park and killed the match. It still lasted till the final two deliveries but that was more due to confusion in the RCB ranks than the Aussie’s brilliance.
The India skipper had pulled off better surprises in his career by tossing the ball to surprising choices and more often than not he had finished up on the winning side. But on Sunday RCB became only the second team to beat Chennai, their third defeat in the tournament so far with both their previous losses coming against Kings XI Punjab.
On a JSCA Cricket Stadium wicket that was turning square, Dhoni had two other economical options in Mohit Sharma and leg-spinner Samuel Badree. But the surprise did not work and by the end of the five-wicket loss, Dhoni has unwittingly revealed a chink in the CSK armour: death bowling. A weakness RCB has shown more than once in this edition was not just theirs anymore.
In the course of the tournament RCB bowlers have given runs away rather generously. Kieron Pollard and Rohit Sharma of Mumbai Indians had hammered 54 runs in 3.2 overs against RCB’s bowling attack and Rajasthan Royals’ Aussie duo James Faulkner and Steve Smith had plundered 65 off 3.5 overs.
Coming into this match which RCB needed to win to stay alive in the tournament, their bowlers were required to restrict the opponents to a modest total as chasing would become difficult on a wicket that promised to get slower.
The bowlers did respond and 138 was a total RCB would fancy to chase against any bowling attack especially after Chris Gayle was showing signs of finding the middle of his bat a lot better.
Mitchell Starc, Abu Nechim Ahmed and Yuzvendra Chahal bowled tight spells to tie down the CSK batsmen while Muttiah Muralitharan and Varun Aaron chipped in with crucial wickets to ensure RCB held the initiative throughout the match.
Suresh Raina’s unbeaten 62 off 48 balls, his second half-century in the tournament, with six fours and a six went in vain.