BANGALORE: Indian Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni bludgeoned an unbeaten 70 off 34 balls and led Chennai Super Kings to the top of Indian Premier League points table with a five-wicket victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore on Wednesday.
Dhoni smashed seven sixes and a four and featured in a match-winning century stand with Ambati Rayudu (82) as Chennai reached 207-5 with two balls to spare.
Earlier, AB de Villiers (68) and Quinton de Kock (53) had lifted Bangalore to 205-8 with their 103-run second wicket stand after Dhoni won the toss and opted to field first.
“You will win some, you’ll lose some but the job of the finisher is to finish the job and help others,” Dhoni said.
Rayudu and Dhoni put Chennai back in the hunt with some brilliant display of power hitting after Chennai struggled at 74-4 in nine overs.
Legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal (2-26) and seamer Umesh Yadav (1-23) bowled economical spells upfront before Rayudu, who hit eight sixes and three fours, and Dhoni took charge by clearing the short boundaries.
“Rayudu is important in this line-up because he keeps the scoreboard moving, and small grounds are ideal for him,” Dhoni said.
Both batsmen targeted seamers Corey Anderson (0-58) and Mohammad Siraj (0-48) in the latter part of the innings which left Bangalore captain Virat Kohli disappointed.
“The way we bowled was just not acceptable, giving that many runs in the end was criminal,” Kohli said.
“Dhoni is looking in really good touch, he’s hitting the ball really well in this IPL but not great to see it against us.”
Rayudu got a life on 61 when Yadav dropped a sitter but made amends when he ran him out of a direct throw in the 18th over.
Needing 16 off the last over, Dwayne Bravo (14 not out) hit Anderson for a four and six off the first two deliveries to ease out pressure. And Dhoni finished off the game by lofting the New Zealand seamer over the long-on boundary for a winning six.
“What’s important in a chase is to know which bowler has how many (overs) left and who the captain will bowl when, and you play accordingly,” Dhoni said.
De Villiers’ blistering knock off 30 balls included eight sixes and two fours as he put on 103 runs with de Kock off just 53 balls.
But Bangalore lost three wickets for four runs as Bravo (2-33) took a smart return catch to dismiss de Kock and de Villiers got a leading edge off legspinner Imran Tahir (2-35).
Mandeep Singh survived a first ball missed stumping by Dhoni before played a little cameo of 32 runs off 17 balls which carried Bangalore beyond the 200-run mark.
Chennai now has 10 points from five wins in six matches while Bangalore is at No. 6 with four points from just two victories.—AP