After seven matches, Chennai Super Kings’ mid-term report card will just read ‘lack of intent’. The side produced yet another dull display of Twenty 20 cricket on Saturday, going down to Royal Challengers Bangalore by 37 runs at the Dubai International Stadium.
Chasing 170 for victory, CSK’s batting woes were played out familiarly. The openers failed to give a good start and the middle-order showed no urgency, as last edition’s runner-up crawled to its fifth defeat of the season.
Earlier, Virat Kohli slammed an unbeaten 90 off just 52 balls (4×4, 4×6) in an innings where he seamlessly shifted gears between caution and aggression.
At the end of the 15th over, both teams were in a similar situation (RCB: 95/4; CSK: 96/3), but CSK did not have someone to produce a knock like Kohli’s.
The Indian skipper cut loose in the last five overs to power RCB to169, which proved more than enough.
On the field, Kohli was brilliant with his calls, using the quicks to unsettle the openers before Washington Sundar removed Faf du Plessis and Shane Watson cheaply.
Ambati Rayudu (42) and debutant N. Jagadeesan (33) weren’t able to accelerate, and the RCB bowlers used the scoreboard pressure to close out the match without much trouble.
Electing to bat, RCB had a sedate start, with Aaron Finch falling early and Devdutt Padikkal, not at his fluent best. Padikkal (33) and Kohli quietly steadied things before Shardul Thakur removed the left-handed opener and AB de Villiers in the 11th over to reduce RCB to 67 for three.
With his side in trouble, Kohli hunkered down and kept the scoreboard moving with some impressive running between the wickets and got to his half-century with a pull to the square-leg boundary off Thakur.
It was then that he turned on the vintage hits, going after Sam Curran. In the 18th over, he hit the left-arm paceman for two sixes, with the second one being the best shot of the day — an audacious flick over square-leg while stepping down to the bowler.