A Ravindra Jadeja and Chris Morris driven show with cameos from Suresh Raina, Subramaniam Badrinath and Mahendra Singh Dhoni outclassed a fine display of batsmanship by Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers in a classic thriller at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Saturday evening (April 13). It ensured that the sea of yellow got to see what they have got used to: a home team victory. (Related read: I am not 'Sir' Ravindra Jadeja, says the man himself)
Needing 16 runs to win off the last over, Jadeja hit Rudra Pratap Singh for 11 runs in the first three balls. Morris then reduced the equation to two runs needed off one ball before Jadeja edged an overstepped delivery from RP Singh straight to the throat of Rampaul at third-man. Amidst confusion, drama, ecstasy and disappointment, Chennai romped home by four wickets with a ball to spare.
Deciding to field first, Chennai had restricted Bangalore to 165 for 6 and it was just enough to produce one more cliffhanger in the sixth edition of the Pepsi Indian Premier League 2013. (Photo gallery: How the thriller unfolded)
Chennai's chase started off on a sedate note as M Vijay and Michael Hussey fell to Rampaul and Vinay Kumar in quick succession. It could well have been three down had RP Singh not floored a regulation catch off Badrinath at third-man in the sixth over. (Also see: Statistical highlights - Dhoni's milestone)
In between the wickets and the dropped catch, Raina hit four exquisitely time boundaries in a space of six balls to break the shackles. Badrinath took full advantage of the reprieve and played some copybook shots as the pair put up 56 runs in 39 balls.
With the game hanging in balance in the 10th over, Raina top-edged a delivery from Syed Mohammed straight into the hands of Murali Kartik at third-man. Soon Mohammed, courtesy of a brilliant diving catch by Mayank Agarwal at sweeper cover, sent back Badrinath for 34.
Dhoni first hit Singh to the second tier of the H stand and then dispatched a Rampaul delivery out of the park over the Madras Cricket Club gallery. It was a statement of intent but with 29 needed off two overs Rampaul struck twice to send Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo back. However, a cool-headed Jadeja ensured that it was Chennai's game from there on.
It was an anti-climactic beginning to the match as Chris Gayle fell in the second over much to the delight of the gathering at the Chepauk. Trying to give himself room, he edged a Morris delivery to Dhoni. With Gayle gone, Bangalore focussed on rebuilding and did that quite well.
Sensing the toned-down approach, Dhoni introduced Mohit Sharma, the debutant seamer, early into the attack. However his lack of speed allowed Kohli to get his feet moving. At the other end Agarwal took calculated risks and stepped out to hit Jadeja for the first six of the match.
Just when the pair looked settled Ravichandran Ashwin induced Agarwal out of his crease and darted one to his leg, which deceived him and left him stranded. Immediately after the 45-run stand Kohli survived a close caught behind call off Bravo. The television replay suggested that the back of the length delivery might have actually kissed Kohli's gloves.
Bangalore's crisis man AB de Villiers ensured that the game moved at a swift pace. His presence allowed Kohli to open up and the pair picked up 41 runs between the 13th and 15th over and brought up their 50-run partnership.
Kohli celebrated his second half-century in three games with a drag-flicked six over mid-wicket but Morris had the last laugh as he sent back Kohli and Daniel Christian, one of the four replacements Bangalore had made for this game, in a space of three balls as the visitors were suddenly 135 for 4.
With the innings losing its direction de Villiers shifted gears seamlessly. He swept, pulled, drove, flicked, slogged and used his brutal power to race his way to 64 before he was caught off the last ball of the innings on the cover boundary.
His 34-ball innings that consisted of eight fours and a six took Bangalore to 165 for 6. However, a better batting performance by Chennai on a track that stayed true throughout meant that the home team continued their dominance over Bangalore at Chepauk.