MS Dhoni’s swashbuckling 84 went in vain as Royal Challengers Bangalore edged past Chennai Super Kings at home in a last-ball thriller on Sunday to keep their play-off hopes alive in the Indian Premier League.
Dhoni almost pulled off Chennai’s chase of 161 as he smashed five fours and seven sixes in his 48-ball blitz only to see his team lose by one run in Bangalore.
With defending champions Chennai needing 26 off the last over, Dhoni hit a four and three sixes but missed the final ball from Umesh Yadav and ran to get runs through byes.
RCB wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel, who top-scored with 53 in his team’s 161/7, hit the stumps to run out Shardul Thakur as Virat Kohli’s side managed to win their third game.
“A whole lot of emotions. We thought we were outstanding with the ball till the 19th over mark. To be very honest, that was the last thing I would have expected,” said a relieved Kohli.
“But anything can happen in the game of cricket. MS (Dhoni) did what he does well and gave us a scare.”
The 37-year-old Dhoni, known for his finishing skills, lifted his side from a precarious 28/4 in the sixth over to bring them within touching distance of victory.
He built crucial partnerships including a 55-run fifth-wicket stand with Ambati Rayudu, who made 29, to try and calculate the chase.
“We did really well to restrict RCB below par. I think it was more of a calculation mistake that we lost wickets early on,” said the skipper.
“T20 is all about taking risks, but you can still calculate. A lot of boundaries were needed, right now you can calculate, one run there, and two runs there and we just lost by one run. But you can also say we missed some boundaries.”
South African paceman Dale Steyn did the early damage with his twin strikes to be on a hat-trick in the very first over of the Chennai innings.
Steyn got Australia’s Shane Watson caught at slip for five, on the fifth delivery and then bowled Indian batsman Suresh Raina for nought. He returned figures of 2/29.
But the finish was all about two Indian wicket-keepers — one almost pulling off a trademark finish, the other holding his nerve to pull off an incredible win.
Plenty of praise for Dhoni’s masterclass
Accolades for player-of-the-match Parthiv Patel
There were a few funny tangential tweets as well...