Chennai Super Kings 150 for 2 (Gaikwad 65*, Rayudu 39) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 145 for 6 (Kohli 50, de Villiers 39, Curran 3-19, Chahar 2-31) by eight wickets

The Chennai Super Kings built a squad for the slow, turning pitches at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. On Sunday, when they were all but out of IPL 2020, they got to play in conditions not dissimilar to those back in Chennai, and pulled off a performance that made you wonder how their season might have gone had Covid-19 not transplanted the tournament to the UAE.

They were abetted by a Royal Challengers Bangalore batting display that seldom got out of second gear, which set them a target of just 146, but some of the hallmarks of the classic Super Kings performance were also on show. Accurate medium-fast bowling with frequent changes of pace, an expert middle-overs strangulation by spin featuring typically clever MS Dhoni fields, and a controlled chase featuring timely six-hitting to keep the required rate in check. There was also, as has often been the case, an opposition attack that wasn’t entirely suited to the conditions.

Along the way, there was even one unusual detail, a young player who batted with – let’s use the word – spark, Ruturaj Gaikwad, who anchored the chase with an unbeaten 51-ball 65 while Faf du Plessis and Ambati Rayudu brought urgency at the other end.

With their eight-wicket win, the Super Kings kept the barely flickering flame of their campaign alive, just about, but the result might have more of an impact on the Royal Challengers. They began the game with a chance of rising to the top of the table and ended it with their chances of a top-two finish significantly diminished.

More to follow…

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