Ashish Nehra took 4 for 10 as Chennai Super Kings eased to a 27-run victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore today in the Indian Premier League.
Chennai posted 181 for 8 from their 20 overs –– no more than a par score in Bangalore –– but Nehra’s exceptional bowling, and some brilliant work in the field, inspired the victory as the rock-bottom Challengers mustered just 154 for 8.
Chennai opener Brendon McCullum (4) fell early to leg-spin –– not the first time this season –– with Yuzvendra Chahal taking the wicket. But Dwayne Smith (39 off 29) and in particular Suresh Raina (62 off 34) got their team up and running.
Raina was the mainstay of their innings, hitting Chahal for three consecutive sixes, but when going for a fourth he holed out. Faf du Plessis took up the attack, smacking 33 not out off 18 balls to give his team a late boost.
The Bangalore reply started well, Rilee Rossouw (14) launching an enormous, 93-metre six off Ishwar Panday (1-21) to ignite his team’s response.
But Manvinder Bisla (17) and Rossouw both fell to Nehra who was in virtually unstoppable form. The left-arm paceman, bowling with real zip, removed Bisla with the help of a stunning leaping catch from du Plessis, and Rossouw was bowled by a beauty.
There was another brilliant catch in the outfield by Dwayne Bravo, diving forward to dismiss Dinesh Kartik (10) off Panday. The key wicket though was that of AB de Villiers, who was superbly run out by MS Dhoni.
Virat Kohli held things together with a battling 51 and Bangalore were well behind the required run rate when Nehra returned to the attack.
He removed Kohli, well caught on the rope by Smith, and –– next ball –– Harshal Patal, scooping the ball to Bravo at mid-off. Of the 24 balls Nehra bowled, 15 were dot balls –– a magnificent achievement in the shortest form of the game.
David Wiese (22) hit some lusty blows to give the Challengers’ score some respectability, but they are rooted to the bottom, with Chennai sitting pretty in second and on course for the play-offs.