Sri Lankan slinger Matheesha Pathirana, in his first game, was exceptional at the death. Against his unique action and subtle changes of pace, RCB found 35 off the last three overs a bridge too far
Royal Challengers Bangalore batters Faf du Plessis and Glenn Maxwell run between the wickets during the IPL 2023 cricket match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Chennai Super Kings, at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. Pic/PTI
RCB v CSK is a marquee clash in the league phase of any IPL, and it lived up to its billing on a raucous Monday night.
A belter of a surface played its part in uncorking a run feast with a tournament record-equalling 33 sixes keeping a packed gathering with divided loyalties entertained and riveted. Despite a slew of dropped catches, CSK somehow breasted the tape, by eight runs, thriving on the inexperience of the RCB lower order to overturn a seemingly lost cause when Faf du Plessis and Glenn Maxwell were making their intimidating 226 for six look decidedly inadequate.
Devon Conway, the Player of the Match, in conjunction with the Mumbai duo of Ajinkya Rahane and Shivam Dube, had piloted CSK to their highest total against RCB. Then, the hosts were in a hole at 15 for two before skipper du Plessis and the irrepressible Maxwell launched a blistering counter-attack.
Du Plessis was subdued only in comparison as Maxwell pulverised the bowling with some of the cleanest strikes. As the boundaries flowed and catches continued to go down with Maheesh Theekshana, the primary, but not only culprit, RCB closed in on the chase.
It took the calmness of Dhoni to finally get under a steepling skier that evicted Maxwell, eight sixes in his 36-ball 76, after an alliance of 125 in just 61 deliveries. Du Plessis too perished to another excellent Dhoni catch under pressure.
Sri Lankan slinger Matheesha Pathirana, in his first game, was exceptional at the death. Against his unique action and subtle changes of pace, RCB found 35 off the last three overs a bridge too far.