Bengaluru, April 26: Mahendra Singh Dhoni once again showed his prowess was not on the wane as he blazed his way to a 34-ball 70 and powered Chennai Super Kings to a five-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore in yet another high scoring match the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 here tonight.
Opener Ambati Rayudu laid the foundation with a sparkling 82 off 53 balls, hitting eight sixes and three fours. CSK needed 16 runs in the last over and Dhoni hit a six, his seventh of the night, to see his team through after Dwayne Bravo struck and a boundary and a six.
Batting first, RCB notched up a competitive 205 for eight riding on Ad de Villiers 30-ball 68 and Quinton de Kock's 53, but CSK chased down the target with two balls to spare. Dhoni remained not out with seven maximums and a boundary, after adding 101 runs for the fifth wicket with Rayudu.
Chennai Super Kings were off to a bad start with Pawan Negi sending back Shane Watson with just eight runs on the board. A 42-run partnership ensued between Ambati Rayudu and Suresh Raina before the experienced left-handed batsman fell for 11 in the sixth over.
Sam Billings came and went back to the dugout for the addition of just nine runs to the team total, while Ravindra Jadeja was bowled by Yuzvendra Chahal to leave CSK in a spot of bother at 74 for four.
However, Rayudu and skipper Dhoni had other ideas as the duo staged a fine recovery before bringing CSK right back into the game. A flurry of sixes flowed from the blades of Rayudu and Dhoni as they constructed their innings keeping the required run rate in mind.
Umesh Yadav dropping a sitter to give Rayudu a life off Corey Anderson made things miserable for RCB as the batsman took full advantage of that by hitting the bowler for two successive sixes in the same over.
Before that, Pawan Negi was blasted for 19 runs with Dhoni using his strong bottom hand and power to hit two sixes, while Rayudu also got himself one maximum. 71 runs were required from the last five overs and the equation was brought down to 55 from 24 after that eventful 16th over by Anderson.
With CSK needing 45 from 18 balls, Dhoni hit a six to keep his team in the hunt, but Umesh made amends for his drop catch by running out Rayudu with a direct hit to bring another twist to the game.
Despite scoring 15 runs in the previous over, CSK needed 30 in the last two overs. CSK managed 16 ff the penultimate over, thanks to some dreadful bowling by Mohammed Shiraj, who conceded two wides and a no ball. Bravo and Dhoni then finished the job.
With this knock, Dhoni once again proved that he's still the best finishers of the game and no target is safe for the opposition if he's into the middle. His team fell four short of the target in the game against Kings XI Punjab as Dhoni remained unbeaten for 79, but this time the 36-year-old ensured he finished it off in style.
Impressed with his masterful knock cricketers and experts took to Twitter to hail him as the King and said that the legend of Dhoni keeps growing.
Here's who said what on Dhoni's 34-ball 70.
I told you @ChennaiIPL would do it easy!!! #206— Scott Styris (@scottbstyris) April 25, 2018
Wow what a finish by CSK. Shows the value of experience at the death...— Albie Morkel (@albiemorkel) April 25, 2018
Nothing can go wrong till @msdhoni is at the crease. Vintage stuff from captain cool!! An excellent innings from @RayuduAmbati to set things up for us. All in all a great win for @ChennaiIPL! Keep it boys! #RCBvCSK #IPL2018 pic.twitter.com/NBgyn1YI9J— Suresh Raina (@ImRaina) April 25, 2018
Oh my God....please let me sleep🙏 why did you have to make @ChennaiIPL so awesome, @msdhoni the real universe boss and @RayuduAmbati Mr Iceman you have me so excited for the rest of this years @IPL I can’t sleep #WhistlePodu #unbelievable @StarSportsIndia— Matthew Hayden AM (@HaydosTweets) April 25, 2018
Mahi mahi ve... vintage dhoni no doubt abt that n Rayudu is playing like a dream. Rcb need some death bowlers n good all rounder who can support in batting lower down the order n get the team 3-4 overs consistently #ipl— Irfan Pathan (@IrfanPathan) April 25, 2018
The Dhoni shot I loved the best was that six in the 19th over off Siraj’s yorker over backward point. Destroyed him as a bowler and paved the way for the win.👏👏👏#Dhoni— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) April 25, 2018