Jadeja, Harbhajan spin CSK to clinical win

A clinical Chennai Super Kings performance earned it a six-wicket victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore and took it closer to the playoffs.

M. S. Dhoni made an unbeaten 23-ball 31 to finish the match for CSK.   -  R. Ragu

Conquering the demons within is perhaps the biggest challenge for a cricketer. Ravindra Jadeja has been through hell in recent times.

Under fire and pressure, Jadeja, refusing to celebrate his strikes and relieved to finally contribute, turned the game decisively in Chennai Super Kings’ favour.

And he conjured the key moment of the match - castling Virat Kohli with an arm ball that hurried off the surface.

As it happened

Then, overcoming some tense moments on a dry pitch where the ball gripped - there was turn for the spinners and cut for the seamers - skipper M. S. Dhoni (31 not out off 23) and Dwayne Bravo closed out a six-wicket win in a chase of 128 here on Saturday.

The amount of power Dhoni generated off his back-foot as he struck the leg-spinners over and beyond covers was stunning.

Earlier, Umesh Yadav bowled a beauty - the away swinging yorker had venom - to bamboozle Shane Watson with the new ball.

However, Ambati Rayudu, with cuts and pulls, and the left-handed Suresh Raina, picking gaps on the on-side, provided momentum to the innings.

An astonishing catch by Tim Southee at long-on, he leapt to catch the sphere, flicked it back even as he went over the rope and then came back to hold the ball, ended Raina’s innings after the batsman had whipped Umesh. 

Soon, Murugan Ashwin, with a jump and a rock-back in his action before propelling the ball, struck. The leg-spinner’s extra bounce forced Rayudu to miscue a cut.

 

CSK could not be denied its seventh win in 10 matches though. The popular side is now very close to qualification.

Earlier, Jadeja, varying his trajectory, and getting his line right - he got the ball to straighten or spin away from the off-stump - put the seeds of doubt in the batsmen’s mind after Dhoni elected to field.

It was an attacking line, he could, both, go for wickets and cramp the batsmen for room.

The left-arm spinner consumed Mandeep Singh on the sweep and took out a battling Parthiv Patel (53), caught and bowled, with a quicker delivery that was pitched up.

If Jadeja tormented the Royal Challengers, so did Harbhajan Singh. The off-spinner bowled beautifully, flighting the ball, varying his length and using the crease. There was turn for him, and bounce.

And the gifted AB de Villiers - in what was another important point in the game - attempted to reverse sweep a flighted delivery with revolutions, missed and Dhoni had the bails off in a flash.

The lively pace combination of contrasts - left-armer David Willey and the skilful Lungi Ngidi - was on target too for CSK. 

In the end, RCB did not have enough runs to play with; Man of the Match Jadeja had inflicted considerable damage earlier.