IPL 2018: Ravindra Jadeja stars as Chennai Super Kings crush Royal Challengers Bangalore
Chennai Super Kings have been flying high, pulling off victories with their daredevil batting. However, for a change, it was their bowlers who came to the fore on Saturday, in their return game against Royal Challengers Bangalore. (Highlights | Scorecard)
The match was over as a contest when on electing to field after winning the toss, CSK spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Harbhajan Singh made short work of the RCB innings, restricting them to 127/9 at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium.
After that, it was about timing their chase, and powered by cameos from Ambati Rayudu (25-ball 32), Suresh Raina (21-ball 25) and captain MS Dhoni’s 23-ball 31, CSK coasted home by six wickets. CSK finished on 128/4 in 18 overs.
It was RCB’s sixth defeat in nine matches. With five matches to go, they are facing huge odds to finish in the top four.
CSK are locked in a battle for the top spot with Sunrisers Hyderabad, and with their seventh win, CSK turned on the heat on their rivals.
JADEJA & CO THRIVE
The pressure on CSK bowlers was immense coming into the game. They had been struggling throughout the tournament but defeats in the last two games had seen the usually calm Dhoni lose his cool and criticise their performance in public.
The harsh words seem to have had the desired effect as it was a transformed CSK bowling unit that took the field at Pune.
No one was feeling the heat more than Jadeja. He was one of the retained players, at the expense of local Chennai star, R Ashwin, but had not able to work his magic.
On Saturday, Jadeja was the star of the show. He finished his spell of four overs for 18 runs and picked up three top-order wickets. Among his scalps was Virat Kohli, RCB captain and world’s top batsman.
Jadeja was well supported by Harbhajan Singh, who claimed two for 22 runs in his four overs.
RCB have been below par this season but Saturday’s display will rank among their poorest. Opener Parthiv Patel was the only batsman to offer some resistance, producing a fighting half-century in his first game in IPL 2018. None of the other batsmen reached double figures. No 9 Tim Southee was the second highest scorer, with an unbeaten 36.
In fielding, RCB were left to rue a dropped catch by Yuzvendra Chahal at a crucial juncture. The pressure was on at that stage of CSK’s chase following tight bowling by Colin de Grandhomme and leg-spinner M Ashwin in the middle overs. CSK were 85 for four in 13.3 overs when Bravo holed out Ashwin to Chahal at deep cover, but the fielder spilled the chance.
From the 11th to 15th overs, the two bowlers had conceded just 18 runs, claiming two wickets.
RCB couldn’t maintain the pressure after that. Ashwin bowled two poor balls in the 16th over and Dwayne Bravo and Dhoni capitalised to plunder 11 runs and ease the pressure. With three sixes off Chahal, the 18th over of the innings, Dhoni sealed the game.