All-round CSK Reclaim Top Spot

Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - All-round CSK reclaim top spot. Bravo picked three wickets as RCB posted just 156 after being 111 for no loss.

All-round CSK Reclaim Top SpotBravo picked three wickets as RCB posted just 156 after being 111 for no loss.

Dwayne Bravo and Shardul Thakur set it up, before a combined batting effort earned Chennai Super Kings a table-topping victory in Sharjah on Friday (September 24). It also meant Royal Challengers Bangalore fell to their seventh-straight defeat in UAE (Five from last season), and second since resumption in what comes as positive news for the chasing pack in the middle of the table (KKR, RR and MI).

First game in Sharjah. Why did Dhoni decide to bowl first?

The CSK captain cited the possibility of dew in the second half of the game for his call. It wasn't without reason, as the venue trend took a 180-degree turn midway through the 2020 season at this venue. Five of the first six matches were won by the teams that set a target, but the next six were all won by teams that chased as the ball began to stop and grip on the tired pitches began, making batting tougher before dew came to batters' rescue in the second innings.

RCB recovered quickly from 92 all out, but today's was an innings of two halves. Why?

Virat Kohli began with two fours as Deepak Chahar went searching for a non-existent swing. It laid down the marker, as the RCB captain and Devdutt Padikkal made most of the time when the ball came onto the bat perfectly. Even Josh Hazlewood, who bowled tough lengths, was taken on in his second over, and RCB flew to 55/0 in 6 overs.

The short straight boundary was often exploited as the pair maintained their stand until the halfway stage, putting on 90. But by then the ball had started to grip, and playing shots got tougher. “As soon as the ball got old and as we got out of the powerplay, it became harder and it started gripping a little bit. Even the fuller balls weren't bouncing much, weren't easy to get under,” Padikkal would later admit.

RCB went from 90/0 in 10 overs to 118/1 in 15 overs, dragging their feet in the midst of some smart bowling manoeuvres from Dhoni. It may not reflect in his bowling figures (0 for 31) but Jadeja was particularly exceptional in that time, keeping the left-handed Padikkal in check. He conceded just 13 runs in the two overs in that phase to crank up the scoring pressure on RCB.

No AB magic in the death?

No. Shardul Thakur ensured the RCB batting graph continued to plummet as he had AB de Villiers and the Padikkal off successive deliveries. The South African threw everything behind a wide-ish delivery to end up giving a simple catch to Raina at extra cover and Padikkal's attempt to play the scoop caused his downfall as he could only guide the slow bouncer into the hands of Ambati Rayudu at short third man.

Dwayne Bravo then repaid Dhoni's decision to stick with him in spite of Sam Curran's availability. He bowled a fabulous final over, where he saw the back of Glenn Maxwell and Harshal Patel and conceded just two runs. With that, RCB ended at 156/6.

How was CSK's start?

It wasn't as fluent as RCB's as the ball began to grip early and the RCB quicks used cutters generously. Yet, by the end of the six overs, CSK had 59/0 – their best PowerPlay score this season, largely thanks to a 16-run sixth over where Du Plessis went after Navdeep Saini. Playing across the line against gripping deliveries wasn't easy but Du Plessis's hitting prowess in the ‘V' allowed him to break away with shots down the ground.

Tell us about the middle-overs duel…

RCB had eyes on a turnaround as well, and Kohli found it through two of his slower bowlers. Gaikwad, who was itching to play his go-to release shot – inside-out over extra cover – was starved of that as Chahal kept bowling flippers and wrong ‘uns to turn the ball in. Gaikwad eventually nicked one that turned away and had to walk back after Kohli sprinted in from backward point and dived forward for an excellent take. Du Plessis fell to an innocuous, leg side ball from Maxwell – top-edging his sweep to Navdeep Saini at short fine leg.

RCB had an opening but Rayudu and Moeen Ali swooped in to nip in the bud. Moeen got going with an exquisite six over extra cover off Chahal's googly and took on the other leggie – Wanindu Hasaranga – too. Rayudu, meanwhile, confidently slog swept Maxwell, the spinner who turned the ball into him. The three overs between 11th and 14th went for 12, 10 and 12 runs to dwarf the asking rate.

Who saw the chase through?

The two veterans of CSK – Suresh Raina and Dhoni – did but their life was made easy particularly by Rayudu's valuable 22-ball cameo. Harshal Patel foxed Moeen with change of pace in an attempt to cause another turnaround but Rayudu had the measure of his slower ones. By the time Harshal dismissed Rayudu too, CSK needed only 24 off 26 deliveries. Hasaranga sped up the process for CSK with two leg-side looseners to Raina, which were duly dispatched through midwicket and over deep square leg. CSK eventually walked past the finish line with 11 balls and 6 wickets to spare.

Brief Scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore 156/6 in 20 overs (Devdutt Padikkal 70, Virat Kohli 53; Dwayne Bravo 3-24, Shardul Thakur 2-29) lost to Chennai Super Kings 157/4 in 18.1 overs (Ruturaj Gaikwad 38, Ambati Rayudu 32; Harshal Patel 2-25) by 6 wickets

What next for the teams?

CSK have just a day-and-a-half to cool their heels and head up to Abu Dhabi to play Sunday's afternoon fixture against KKR. RCB play on Sunday too, against MI in Dubai.

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