The Royal Challengers secured top spot on the IPL table and landed an important pschological blow ahead of the play-offs with an eight-wicket win over Chennai in Bangalore.
Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni waged a lone battle with his unbeaten 70 staving off total disaster for the visitors who limped to 128 for eight. The meagre total proved no match for Bangalore who cruised home with two overs to spare as Chris Gayle whalloped another unbeaten half-century.
Despite both teams having already secured their play-off place, there was still plenty at stake with top spot on the final IPL standings up for grabs to the winner of the clash at the MS Chinnaswamy Stadium.
The importance of the game was not lost on Bangalore who were back at full strength with skipper Daniel Vettori and bowling kingpin Zaheer Khan returing against an unchanged Chennai line-up.
It was Vettori who won the toss and the his decision to bowl first was vindicated by his opening pair of Khan (2 for 19) and the impressive Sreenath Aravind (2 for 20) with the left-arm duo reducing the visitors to 22 for four inside the opening six overs.
Mike Hussey was first to go as he was bowled by Khan in the third over, and Murali Vijay and Suresh Raina followed in quick succession as Aravind joined in the act.
Another left-armer, Vettori, underlined his importance to the RCB attack with his four overs returning figures of two for 15.
Batting at number six CSK captain Dhoni was to fight unassisted apart from Wriddhiman Saha’s brief stay of 22, with no other CSK batsman managing double figures. The Indian skipper blasted six sixes and three fours in his 40-ball stay, taking 19 runs off the final over to push Chennai up to 128 for eight.
In reply Bangalore lost AB de Villiers – used at the top of the order as Gayle’s opening partner – in the first over as the South African was stumped off the bowling of Ravichandran Ashwin. The West Indian however was unperturbed and showed characteristic contempt for the opposition bowling attack as he launched an unbeaten 75 from just 50 deliveries – including four fours and six sixes – to power Bangalore to victory.
Virat Kohli hit a useful 31 from 29 balls in a second-wicket stand of 79, and Saurabh Tiwary finished unbeaten on 13 as the Royal Challengers reached the 129 for two in 18 overs.
The result means that RCB finish top of the IPL4 standings while Chennai will have to wait on the outcome of Sunday’s second game between Kolkata and Mumbai to see if they sneak into second place virtue of a superior net run-rate. Cricket365