x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Super Kings get back to winning ways

Raina's unbeaten 44 guides Chennai home after the spinners Jakati and Muralitharan reduce Bangalore to 161 for four.

Murali Vijay of Chennai Super Kings plays a shot during his side's IPL victory over the Royal Challengers Bangalore at MA Chidambaram Stadium yesterday.
Murali Vijay of Chennai Super Kings plays a shot during his side's IPL victory over the Royal Challengers Bangalore at MA Chidambaram Stadium yesterday.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the Chennai Super Kings captain, was pleased to have returned to winning ways with a five-wicket victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore yesterday. The Royal Challengers, shackled by the Super Kings spin pair of Shadab Jakati and Muttiah Muralitharan, laboured to 161 for four, with Jacques Kallis top-scoring with 52 after Anil Kumble had decided to bat first.

Murali Vijay, Chennai's opener, struck a ferocious 78 and Suresh Raina made an unbeaten 44 as they secured victory - their first following three consecutive defeats and only their third in eight matches overall - with an over to spare. "We had almost lost that winning feeling and this victory has come the hard way," Dhoni said. "I thought the spinners, Jakati and Muralitharan, bowled really well in this game and they have been doing a fine job for quite some time now.

"The fast bowling is still a bit of a worry and even in this game we conceded far too many runs in the last two overs." Kumble, the Royal Challengers captain, laid the blame for the defeat at the feet of his batsmen. "I thought we lost our way after the 13th over and we ended 20 runs short," he said. "Even so, I thought 160 was a defendable score. "We probably missed a second specialist spinner on this surface and we had options in Cameron White and Kevin Pietersen, but we really were a few runs short with the bat.

"The important thing in this format is momentum and I thought we lost some of it after the 13th over while batting. "We probably missed a few tricks in the field, too, and a couple of early wickets would have changed the outcome." Bangalore had began briskly, but the Jakati and Muralitharan put the brakes on the scoring and the Royal Challengers allowed the game to drift beyond them from there. Manish Pandey, the opener, was out cheaply, succumbing to a mistimed pull shot, but they did manage to steady the innings with a 42-run stand for the second wicket between Kallis and Robin Uthappa (21).

Chennai's Matthew Hayden was stumped early in the chase, but Vijay enjoyed his promotion to the top of the order and quickly narrowed the deficit with an array of big-scoring shots. He launched his innings by smashing Praveen Kumar, the new-ball bowler, for three sixes and a four in his second over and bludgeoned a total of four boundaries and six hits over the ropes before miscuing Pietersen to Pandey in the deep.

The Royal Challengers brought themselves back into the game with a few late blows, but Raina kept his nerve and ensured victory with an over to spare. In today's match, the Kolkata Knight Riders take on the Deccan Chargers. Chris Gayle, the Kolkata opener, backed his side to bounce back from their loss to the Delhi Daredevils last time out. "After a phenomenal win against Kings XI Punjab, our confidence was really high and the players were very keen to keep this momentum going. But we couldn't beat Delhi," he said.

"We were still very positive. Unfortunately, our team lost too many wickets early on and that made the job tough. "We cannot give excuses for losing the match. In fact, we are back to square one. We will do whatever it takes to win from here on." * Agencies Kolkata Knight Riders v Deccan Chargers, 6.30pm, Cricone