BANGALORE - Chennai Super Kings took a step closer towards finishing second ahead of the playoffs with a comprehensive eight-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore with 14 balls to spare. The nature of the victory meant that Kolkata Knight Riders would have to win really well against Sunrisers Hyderabad, in the second game of the evening to knock Super Kings off second position.
Super Kings had already qualified for the playoffs but following three consecutive defeats the fight for second place got tougher. Having failed to defend 185 in their previous game against Sunrisers, MS Dhoni decided that chasing was the way forward. Dhoni was an integral part of the chase, finishing the formalities with an unbeaten 49 while Faf du Plessis was the mainstay with 54.
The electric start provided by the Super Kings openers du Plessis and Dwayne Smith cut the target down to size very early on. Super Kings rocketed to 53 in the Powerplay, with Smith and du Plessis taking 18 off a Mitchell Starc over as the captain Virat Kohli shuffled his bowlers to restrict the openers. Smith fell to a soft dismissal in the fifth over, but with a strong platform in place, Super Kings could afford to build steadily and look for singles instead.
At one stage, Super Kings had gone 39 balls without a boundary as the Royal Challengers spinners bowled with greater control. But it didn't disturb Super Kings' flow as they were always comfortably placed to chase the target. Dhoni broke the boundary drought when he swept Yuzvendra Chahal down to fine leg.
Both Dhoni and du Plessis enjoyed reprieves though. Du Plessis, on 33, went down the track to Chahal and the ball brushed his glove and then lobbed off the pads before the wicketkeeper Yogesh Takawale claimed the catch. The fielders were confident but the umpire turned down the appeal. Takawale had himself to blame though when he missed an easy stumping off Dhoni, on 15, as the ball slipped between his legs and rolled for four byes. Dhoni took 22 off that over from Yuvraj Singh, hitting two towering sixes and after that, Super Kings knocked off the remaining 22 off just ten balls.
Royal Challengers in the end were short by plenty. They dropped an out-of-sorts Chris Gayle and went with the experimental opening duo of Rilee Rossouw and Yogesh Takawale. The experiment didn't pay as Royal Challengers lost their top three for 33 and it was down to Kohli and Yuvraj to practically build from the start. Yuvraj made a start, got to 25 before he holed out to deep midwicket.
Kohli went on to score his second fifty of the tournament, but unfortunately for Royal Challengers, he found his touch a bit too late in the competition. Kohli was strong against the spinners in particular, slogging and pulling each time they dropped short. AB de Villiers came in at No.6 but he lasted only six balls before he was bowled by Ashish Nehra going for a slog. Royal Challengers scored 44 off the last four overs to take the score past 150, with Kohli scoring nearly half the team runs. He didn't have the chance to sign off with pride in front of the team's loyal home fans, as the star-studded Royal Challengers turned in another flat IPL season.

Scoreboard

BANGALORE:
RR Rossouw b Nehra    1
YV Takawale lbw b Ashwin    19
VH Zol b Sharma    13
V Kohli b Nehra    73
Yuvraj c Raina b Jadeja    25
AB de Villiers b Nehra    10
S Rana not out    5
MA Starc not out    2
EXTRAS: (lb 2, w 4)    6
TOTAL: (6 wickets; 20 overs)    154
FOW: 1-2, 2-31, 3-33, 4-88, 5-130, 6-150
BOWLING: A Nehra 4-0-33-3, S Badree 3-0-29-0, R Ashwin 4-0-33-1, MM Sharma 3-0-16-1, SK Raina 4-0-27-0, RA Jadeja 2-0-14-1
CHENNAI:
DR Smith c Kohli b Rampaul    34
F du Plessis not out    54
SK Raina st Takawale b Yuvraj    18
MS Dhoni not out    49
EXTRAS: (b 4, w 1)    5
TOTAL: (2 wickets; 17.4 overs)    160
FOW: 1-57, 2-85
BOWLING: SB Jakati 3.4-0-41-0, R Rampaul 2-0-21-1, MA Starc 3-0-33-0, YS Chahal 4-0-24-0, S Rana 1-0-7-0, Yuvraj Singh 4-0-30-1
TOSS: Chennai
UMPIRES: AK Chaudhary, NJ Llong (Eng)
TV UMPIRE: CK Nandan
MATCH REFEREE: RS Madugalle (SL)