Faf du Plessis scored a fifty and had a 75-run partnership with MS Dhoni (49*) to take Chennai to a eight-wicket win over Bangalore. (BCCI Images)
Faf du Plessis scored a fifty and had a 75-run partnership with MS Dhoni (49*) to take Chennai Super Kings to an eight-wicket win over hosts Royal Challengers Bangalore, which boosted CSK's hopes of finishing second on the table.
Chasing a modest target of 154 set by RCB, largely due to Virat Kohli's 49-ball 73, Chennai batsmen made minimum fuss as a collective effort saw them cross the line with as many as 14 balls to spare.
Chennai thus finished their league matches with 18 points from 14 games by virtue of nine wins. They will also hope Kolkata Knight Riders do not surpass their net run-rate during their evening match against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Saturday.
Du Plessis reveled in the role of an opener scoring an unbeaten 54 and also enjoyed a couple of fruitful partnerships - 57 for the opening wicket with Dwayne Smith (34) and unbroken 75 runs with skipper Dhoni for the third wicket.
Dhoni, who is always in his elements in the cash-rich league, smacked his way to 49 off only 28 balls to ensure that the net run-rate is suitably beefed up. Dhoni's innings had four boundaries and three sixes while Du Plessis hit three fours and three sixes.
He was severe on the left-arm spinners as two of his three sixes came in Yuvraj Singh's one over and the other was hit off Shadab Jakati. The winning hit came off Du Plessis' bat as he lofted Jakati for a big six to end it in style.
Before that, Smith again gave CSK a good start as he smashed his way to 34 off 17 balls with four boundaries and a six.
Left-arm spinner Jakati, who had enjoyed a bit of success for the CSK, had a bad outing giving away 41 runs in his 3.4 overs. Mitchell Starc was also hammered for 33 runs in three overs.
Earlier, Kohli's stroke-filled half-century helped Bangalore manage a below-par total. Kohli struck 73 off 49 balls with two fours and five sixes as some of the other batsmen failed to get going against a disciplined CSK attack.
Veteran left-arm seamer Ashish Nehra impressed one and all with figures of 3 for 33, including two beautiful deliveries to dismiss Rilee Russouw (1) and AB de Villiers (10). He got South Africa's limited-overs captain with a perfect yorker that pegged the middle-stump back.
In his final over, Nehra removed rival skipper Kohli to show that Dhoni's decision to field him after a gap of 12 matches (he played the first match) was correct.
Save Kohli, none of other batsmen could find their feet and the RCB skipper fought a lone battle against CSK.
Out of his five sixes, four were hit over the deep mid-wicket region while the other was hit in the long-off region. Kohli was finally out when Nehra bowled a well-disguised slower delivery that rolled into the stumps.
Kohli had a 55-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Yuvraj and scripted a 42-run partnership for the fifth wicket with De Villiers, before the mercurial South African was castled by Nehra.
With three down for 33 in the sixth over, Yuvraj and Kohli put their heads down to build the innings. In the tenth over, Kohli cut lose and plundered 10 runs along with Yuvraj, which also included a six off Ashwin over long-on.
In the next 18 deliveries, Yuvraj and Kohli cracked 27 runs with a flurry of boundaries against Suresh Raina and Ashwin. However, the Rs 14-crore man was out to a woeful shot off left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja for 25 off 24 balls with two boundaries, leaving Bangalore struggling at 88 for 4 in 14 overs.
(with PTI inputs)