Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) clinched their spot in the TATA Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 playoffs with a dramatic 27-run victory over Chennai Super Kings (CSK) at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. The game, a virtual knockout for both teams, culminated in a nail-biting finish that saw CSK fall just short of qualifying for the playoffs.

With CSK needing 17 runs in the final over to keep their playoff hopes alive, Yash Dayal delivered a gripping performance. The first ball was a full toss that MS Dhoni dispatched over fine-leg for a massive 110-meter six, reigniting CSK’s chances. However, the second ball was slower and pitched perfectly, resulting in Dhoni attempting a lofty shot over square-leg, only to be caught comfortably in the deep.

Shardul Thakur faced the next ball but missed it as it was short and slow. He then managed to get an outside edge for a single, bringing Ravindra Jadeja to strike with 10 runs required off the last two balls. Displaying exceptional composure, Dayal bowled two excellent slower deliveries, restricting Jadeja and sealing RCB’s berth in the playoffs. This intense finish was befitting for such arch-rivals whose fate in the tournament was hanging in the balance.

Ahead of the game, CSK won the toss and chose to bowl first, setting up a scenario where RCB had to win by at least 18 runs to secure their playoff spot. The pitch at Chinnaswamy Stadium, known for high-scoring games, promised an exhilarating contest, although there were moments when even reaching 200 seemed challenging for RCB.

The RCB innings began on a high note with Virat Kohli and Faf du Plessis aggressively targeting the CSK bowlers in the early overs. Noteworthy was a beautifully executed flick by Kohli, smashing Tushar Deshpande over mid-wicket for a six. However, rain interrupted the play when RCB stood at 31 for three, causing a short break. Fortunately, the interruption was brief, and the match resumed without any overs being lost.

Post-resumption, the batting conditions seemed more difficult. CSK introduced their spinners, and the pitch offered noticeable grip and turn, making scoring runs considerably harder. In the consecutive overs after the restart, RCB could only manage six runs, with the ball frequently beating the bat. Faf du Plessis relieved some pressure by hitting Mahesh Theekshana down the ground in the powerplay’s final over and Kohli followed suit, taking on Ravindra Jadeja and Mitchell Santner post the powerplay.

Kohli’s aggression continued as he smashed Jadeja over mid-wicket for a six in the ninth over. He then hit another six off Santner in the following over but was caught at long-on by Daryl Mitchell on the very next delivery. Du Plessis continued the assault, reaching his half-century with a series of hefty blows against Jadeja. Rajat Patidar, RCB’s other in-form batter, contributed significantly with a six off Theekshana early in his innings. However, a drive by Patidar led to du Plessis’ dismissal for 54 when the ball deflected off Santner’s hand and hit the stumps at the non-striker’s end.

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. At 113 for three in 13 overs, RCB required a substantial push in the slog overs.

Providing that impetus was the partnership between Patidar and Cameron Green, who added an impressive 71 runs in just 28 balls. This onslaught ensured that only one of the last seven overs went for less than 13 runs. Patidar ended with 41 off 23 balls, while Green remained unbeaten on 38 off 17 balls. Contributions from Dinesh Karthik (14 off six balls) and Glenn Maxwell (16 off five balls) propelled RCB to 218, setting CSK a challenging target of 201 runs to qualify.

CSK’s chase started dramatically with Ruturaj Gaikwad’s dismissal on the first ball, caught by Yash Dayal at short fine-leg. Glenn Maxwell delivered the first over, a surprising move that mirrored RCB’s innings difficulties. CSK soon found themselves at 19 for two when Dayal claimed Mitchell’s wicket in the third over.

Rachin Ravindra and Ajinkya Rahane then teamed up to resurrect the innings, forging a partnership that balanced caution with aggression, adding 66 runs off 41 balls. Both batters found boundaries regularly enough to keep the required rate in check. Their partnership kept CSK in contention, taking them to 85 for two in nine overs.

However, Rahane’s dismissal for 33 off Lockie Ferguson’s first ball of the 10th over gave RCB an opening, and they capitalized by tightening the screws in the following overs. Ravindra’s flurry of boundaries in the 12th over, including a four and two sixes, provided some respite for CSK, bringing up his half-century.

The game’s drama escalated in the final overs. Shivam Dube, who was dropped by Mohammad Siraj, was run-out soon after in a mix-up with Ravindra for 61. Dube’s subsequent dismissal in the next over, trying to clear long-on, added further pressure on CSK. Mitchell Santner’s attempt to go over mid-off resulted in a breathtaking one-handed catch by du Plessis, pushing CSK deeper into trouble.

With 71 runs needed from the last five overs, MS Dhoni entered the fray joining Jadeja. Facing an uphill task, CSK needed 63 runs off the last four overs following a strategic time-out. Jadeja signaled his intent immediately by hitting a six on the first ball after resumption. Contributions of 13 and 15 runs off the next two overs kept CSK within touching distance of their target.

In the penultimate over delivered by Ferguson, CSK needed 35 runs. A no-ball beamer and subsequent boundaries from Jadeja and Dhoni brought the equation down. Jadeja’s six off the last ball of the over over mid-wicket set up a thrilling finish, but ultimately, CSK fell short, ensuring a triumphant conclusion to RCB’s playoff quest.

By IPL Agent

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