x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Virat Kohli and Zaheer Khan keep Bangalore's hopes alive in the IPL

Victory by 24 runs in rain-shortened game means Sunrisers Hyderabad must win their final game to go through.

Virat Kohli, left, and Chris Gayle, right, pictured in action in the 2012 IPL season, were Bangalore's heroes in their win over Chennai.
Virat Kohli, left, and Chris Gayle, right, pictured in action in the 2012 IPL season, were Bangalore's heroes in their win over Chennai.

Bangalore 106-2 (eight overs)
Chennai 82-6 (eight overs)

Amid fears that the controversy surrounding three players had dampened the enthusiasm of fans for the current Indian Premier League season, a 35,000-strong crowd endured rain and strong winds, sticking around at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium late into Saturday night to watch an eight-over-per-side match.

And they were richly rewarded as Virat Kohli, the Royal Challengers Bangalore captain, turned on the heat with an unbeaten 29-ball 56 that powered his team to 106 for two against the Chennai Super Kings.

That ensured that Bangalore's hopes of making the final four were kept alive with a 24-run win. To advance, however, Bangalore still need Sunrisers Hyderabad to lose to Kolkata Knight Riders today.

Chennai have proven adept at chasing stiff targets over 20 overs, with the likes of Mike Hussey, Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni being masters of constructing an innings and controlling the tempo. In an eight-over slog, however, the margin for error was wafer thin. What was needed was incessant hitting, and the surest way to ensure that did not happen was for Bangalore to pick up wickets.

Which was exactly what happened as Zaheer Khan picked up the early scalp of Hussey for only six, and he was a constant thorn in the Chennai batting line-up, finishing with four for 17.

But Chennai had always been up against thanks to the aggressive batting of Bangalore's openers.

Kohli, walked out to open the innings with Chris Gayle and married aggression with attractive stroke play during his innings, which included six boundaries and four sixes.

Gayle was not to be out done though, striking four sixes before he was dismissed for 28.

But Kohli batted through the eight overs to ensure that Hyderabad will have to work in their final game to earn their spot in the top four and a game against the Rajasthan Royals in the Eliminator game in Delhi on Wednesday.

Anand Vasu is managing editor at Wisden India

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