Morkel stars in stunning Chennai win
A destructive six-ball bludgeoning from Albie Morkel helped the Chennai Super Kings snatch victory from the jaws of defeat as they pulled off a stunning five-wicket victory over the Royal Challengers Bangalore in their IPL clash at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Thursday.
Set 206 for victory, the defending champions looked destined for a third loss in four games with 43 required from the final 12 deliveries and captain MS Dhoni having just fallen for a valiant 41 off 24 balls.
But Proteas all-rounder Morkel planted the next six deliveries for 4-6-4-6-2-6 for a 28-run penultimate over, bowled by Virat Kohli.
That left 15 to get from the final over, and after Morkel fell to the first ball, the cause again looked lost.
But Dwaye Bravo (25 off 15) struck a four and six, before Ravindra Jadeja edged the final delivery for four to complete the second biggest successful chase in IPL history.
Another South African, Faf du Plessis also played his part for Chennai with 71 off 46 at the start of the chase, while Muttiah Muralitharan rolled back the years with an outstanding three for 21 for Bangalore.
Earlier, Chris Gayle smashed six sixes and two fours on his way to 68 off just 35 deliveries, while India star Kohli struck a cool 57 off 46 to help the visitors reach 205 for eight, the highest team total of the season.
There was also an outstanding 45 off 26 from the visitors’ other opener Mayank Agarwal, but their total proved to be just short as they registered a second loss of the campaign.
After winning the toss and batting first, Agarwal, who was dropped on 16, upstaged Gayle during an opening partnership of 53, including the quickest team half-century in the tournament to date, in just 4.5 overs.
Morkel (2-37) stifled the innings slightly when he removed Agarwal in his first over, caught via a top-edge to Bravo at mid-on.
But after slowly rebuilding, Gayle exploded in the ninth over with three sixes off Suresh Raina, with the 100 coming up two overs later.
The 50 partnership with Kohli was raised in 33 balls, before the West Indian reached his half century with successive sixes off Shadab Jakati to get to the mark in 27 deliveries.
There was no let-up for Chennai as the 150 came up at the start of the 15th over, followed by the first 100 stand of the season from 60 balls.
Gayle was eventually caught by Bravo at long-off, Jadeja (2-18) the bowler, while AB de Villiers (four) fell to Morkel shortly after.
Kohli went to his 50 in 43 balls with just over three overs remaining, before becoming one of five wickets to fall in seven balls at the death – three of them to Doug Bollinger (3-24) - with Bangalore only just getting past 200 with a six from the final ball of the innings by Vinay Kumar.
In reply, the hosts were off to a blazing start thanks mainly to Du Plessis, who struck 41 out of the first 50, which Chennai reached after six overs.
Enter Muralitharan, and the retired Sri Lanka spinner inflicted an outstanding caught-and-bowled to dismiss Vijay with his fifth ball when he threw himself to his right to pluck a one-handed return catch out of nothing.
Raina was next in and put on 32 in 3.3 overs with Du Plessis, who reached his 50 in 32 balls, before trying to over-attack against Muralitharan and was eventually caught by Raju Bhatkal at long-on for 23 off 14.
The 100 came up in the 13th over, but Murali accounted for Du Plessis at a crucial stage, caught by Kohli at long-on to leave the Super Kings on 128 for three.
Still 78 off 33 were required, an exceptionally tough ask under any circumstances, but Chennai showed why they are one of the most successful franchises in the competition’s brief history with an unlikely but enthralling win.
CHENNAI SUPER KINGS - Murali Vijay, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Dwayne Bravo, Subramaniam Badrinath, Ravindra Jadeja, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt/wk), Albie Morkel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shadab Jakati, Doug Bollinger.
ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE – Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers (wk), Saurabh Tiwary, Cheteshwar Pujara, Mayank Agarwal, Daniel Vettori (capt), Vinay Kumar, Raju Bhatkal, Zaheer Khan, Muttiah Muralitharan.