• Faf removes AB as Chennai beat RCB

    Faf du Plessis’ Chennai Super Kings climbed back to pole position in the IPL standings – and maintained their unbeaten record at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai – after they defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore by 24 runs on Monday.

    After batting first and setting the visitors a target of 149, CSK clawed their way back into the match after the visitors called the shots at one point and looked favourites to walk away with the two points. RCB who were in control of the run chase at one point, collapsed to 124.

    At the start of the run-chase, RCB lost opener Nic Maddinson (who made it to the RCB XI in place of the rested Chris Gayle) in the third over.

    AB de Villiers started off with a bang, hitting two boundaries in the first four balls he faced. The South African struck three more boundaries and raced to 21 from 13 balls before his attempt to drive a low full toss landed in the hands of Faf du Plessis at mid-off.

    From 34-2, RCB slipped to 34-3 two balls later when Mandeep Singh answered his captain’s call for a risky single but was run out by a sharp throw by Pawan Negi.

    The rescue job came from Virat Kohli and Dinesh Karthik, who added 63 in just under nine overs. Run scoring was a difficult proposition on the pitch by itself, and it was made to appear like a herculean effort by the Chennai Super Kings fielders who must have saved at least 15-20 runs on the field.

    The pair operated on the one-boundary-an-over strategy, but ran hard between the wickets, often picking up the difficult second run.

    Just when it appeared that the balance was tilting slightly in favour of the visitors, Dwayne Bravo came up with a piece of magic for the hosts.

    After Kohli had stepped out and driven straight back, Bravo fielded it in his follow through, had the presence of mind to fling the ball back at the striker’s end wickets catching the RCB captain out of his ground. Kohli made 48 from 44 balls, aided with two boundaries and a six.

    For CSK, Ashish Nehra took his tally of wickets – together with the three wickets in this match – to 17 wickets. Ishwar Pandey and Bravo picked up two wickets each. In all, the four quick bowlers bowled 15.4 overs and returned with eight wickets.

    Faf du Plessis scored 24 for CSK as they batted first.

    In the other game on Monday, the Kolkata Knight Riders registered their fifth win of the IPL and climbed to third in the standings after they defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad by 35 runs at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

    In a match where neither team batted particularly well, KKR did well enough to post 167 runs on the board, after which their bowlers bowled wonderfully to restrict the visitors to 132-9.

    Dale Steyn, in a rare start for the Sunrisers, failed to take a wicket while Johan Botha claimed 1-32 in his four overs for KKR.