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Sensational win for Royal Challengers

- Gayle & De Villiers star in five-wicket victory

Ranchi: Usually, a 139-run target is not a daunting one. But on a slow, sluggish wicket, which throws up puffs of dust with some of the balls turning square, scoring runs takes some serious effort.

The Chennai Super Kings (CSK) had bowlers to make ideal use of the conditions on offer, here, at the JSCA Stadium, on Sunday. And considering the recent performances of the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), it seemed that Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s side would be able to pocket a victory which would have taken them to the top of the points tally.

However, perhaps for the first time in IPL VII, the big names in the RCB ranks fired in unison and helped their team get past CSK’s 138 for four. No wonder this is a much-needed victory that keeps RCB’s hopes of making the last four alive.

RCB still have plenty of work to do, as they need to win every match from hereon to reach the play-offs. But the triumph over the formidable CSK could well help in regaining their rhythm that seemed to be missing in the previous appearances.

Chris Gayle (46), captain Virat Kohli (27), AB de Villiers (28) and Yuvraj Singh (13 not out) — all of them came up with their share of contribution that pulled RCB through under difficult circumstances.

Earlier, the CSK batsmen had struggled to keep the scoreboard rotating. First, Varun Aaron’s double strike in the fifth over to remove openers Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith curbed the flow of runs. Thereafter, Abu Nechim Ahmed, Mitchell Starc, Yuzvendra Chahal and veteran Muttiah Muralidharan were spot-on with their length, as CSK could never really accelerate.

Precisely, it was solely due to Suresh Raina’s unbeaten 48-ball 62 that CSK managed to finish close to 140.

Thus, for RCB, the scenario was such that their star quartet of batsmen had to fire.

Jadeja removed Kohli just when the latter was beginning to look intimidating. De Villiers’s arrival, however, changed the complexion of the game completely. His spontaneity in playing the big strokes brought the equation well in favour of RCB and even when Ashwin accounted for Gayle, there weren’t many reasons for them to worry about.

De Villiers alone smashed 12 off the 15 runs taken from the 18th over bowled by David Hussey.