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  • Royal Challengers stuns Super Kings

    Durban: Lowly Royal Challengers Bangalore humbled fancied Chennai Super Kings by two wickets in an Indian Premier League thriller, to inject some life in its bid for a semifinal berth, here on Thursday.

    Following Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s decision to bat, Chennai Super Kings posted a modest 129, built largely around Matthew Hayden’s breezy 38-ball 60, but the Bangalore side reached the target with two balls to spare.

    For the winner, New Zealander Ross Taylor scored a sedate 50-ball 46 and added 56 runs with Virat Kohli (38 off 35) to fashion its second consecutive victory.

    With five runs needed from the last over, Taylor fell to Jacob Oram but R. Vinay Kumar kept his cool and hit a four to seal the issue.

    The Super Kings maintained a strict line and length to stifle the Bangalore top-order but ran out of steam as the match progressed.

    Taylor and Kohli held their nerve and paired up to pull the Royal Challengers out of the pit before Oram caught Kohli off Lakshmipathy Balaji.

    Experienced Mark Boucher (5) also could not carry the flag and fell prey to Muttiah Muralidharan but Vinay Kumar did not make any mistake, guiding the side to a thrilling win.

    Brilliant catch

    Spinner van der Merwe separated the pair just when it was looking dangerous by brilliantly taking a reflex catch to remove Dhoni.

    Kumble got the big breakthrough when Hayden failed to gauge a floater and Vinay Kumar took a good catch near the ropes.

    Once Hayden returned, none of the Chennai batsmen could do much as the side settled for a below-par total.

    Not enough support

    Earlier, Chennai opener Hayden, who adorned his innings with five fours and three sixes, did not find enough support from his colleagues. Only two other batsmen — Suresh Raina (13) and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (18) — managed double digit scores.

    The Super Kings lost six wickets for only 28 runs with Oram, S. Badrinath and Albie Morkel falling cheaply.

    Hayden looked at his best and cracked three boundaries in the second over off medium pacer R. Vinay Kumar and then smote Praveen Kumar into the stands in the next over.

    Anil Kumble brought South African Jacques Kallis into the attack in the fourth over and the all-rounder justified his skipper’s decision. Kallis inflicted the first blow sending back opener M. Vijay.

    Kallis struck again in the sixth over when Suresh Raina failed to negotiate a rising delivery and Roelof van der Merwe dived forward to pouch a well-judge catch.

    Dhoni then paired up with Hayden to stitch a 45-run partnership.

    An important win

    Kumble described the win as “important” for his side, crediting it to Ross Taylor and a superb catching effort.

    “It was so important, it was fantastic effort. Our catching was brilliant,” Kumble said after snapping Chennai’s five-match winning streak by defeating them by two wickets.

    “In the end, Taylor did it for us,” he added.

    Kumble said the team executed its plan barring a few things.

    “We wanted to get Haydos (Hayden) early but that did not happen. Still, overall our plan was successful,” he said.

    The veteran leg-spinner would not get carried away by the win as he said “I would like to take one game at a time.”

    Disastrous start

    Chasing a modest 130, Bangalore got off to a disastrous start as Chennai’s new-ball pair of Albie Morkel and Sudeep Tyagi struck early.

    Opener Kallis departed after Morkel’s wicket-bound delivery found his leg in the first over, while in the next over Rahul Dravid’s ambitious cut found Badrinath at backward point, leaving Bangalore struggling at 12 for two.

    Things were further complicated when the other opener, Robin Uthappa again departed cheaply, trapped by Albie Morkel.

    It was finally left to Taylor and Kohli to pull Bangalore out of the pit.

    Fielding let down

    Chennai captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni blamed his team’s laid-back fielding for breaking its winning streak in the IPL.

    “Our fielding has been suspect in the tournament so far.”

    You have to be fast and agile on the field. We have been a safe fielding side but not a brilliant one,” Dhoni said.


    Chennai Super Kings: M. Vijay c Uthappa b Kallis 5 (9b), M. Hayden c Vinay Kumar b Kumble 60 (38b, 5x4, 3x6), S. Raina c van der Merwe b Kallis 13 (10b, 3x4), M.S. Dhoni c & b van der Merwe 18 (20b, 1x4), J. Oram c Boucher b Vinay Kumar 7 (15b), S. Badrinath c Uthappa b Kumble 2 (9b), A. Morkel c Kumble b Kumar 9 (7b, 1x4), S. Jakati (not out) 7 (7b, 1x4), L. Balaji c Kumble b Vinay Kumar 0 (1b), M. Muralitharan (run out) 4 (2b, 1x6), S. Tyagi (run out) 0 (0b); Extras: (lb-3, w-1) 4; Total (in 19.4 overs) 129.

    Fall of wickets: 1-32, 2-48, 3-93, 4-101, 5-107, 6-118, 7-118, 8-118, 9-128.

    Royal Challengers Bangalore bowling: Kumble 4-0-12-2, Vinay Kumar 3-0-30-2, Praveen 3.4-0-35-1, Kallis 4-1-18-2, van der Merwe 4-0- 29-1, Akhil 1-0-2-0.

    Royal Challengers Bangalore: R. Uthappa lbw b Morkel 6 (4b, 1x4), J. Kallis lbw b Morkel 0 (1b), R. Dravid c Badrinath b Tyagi 8 (7b, 2x4), R. Taylor c Dhoni b Oram 46 (50b, 2x4, 1x6), V. Kohli c Oram b Balaji 38 (35b, 4x4, 2x6), M. Boucher c Hayden b Muralitharan 5 (5b, 1x4), R. van der Merwe (run out) 3 (6b), B. Akhil c Tyagi b Oram 0 (2b), Praveen (not out) 12 (6b, 1x6), R. Vinay Kumar (not out) 6 (2b, 1x4); Extras: (b-4, lb-1, w-3) 8; Total: (for 8 wickets; in 19.4 overs) 132.

    Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-12, 3-30, 4-86, 5-91, 6-104, 7-107, 8-125.

    Chennai Super Kings bowling: A. Morkel 4-0-13-2, Tyagi 2-0-21-1, Balaji 4-0-32-1, Jakati 4-0-25-0, Muralitharan 4-0-24-1, Oram 1.4-0-12

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