Getting a set Virat Kohli out is a difficult task and his former captain and soon-to-be mentor MS Dhoni knows that well. On Friday, when Kohli was set and cruising with a half-century, the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) captain brought Dwayne Bravo into the attack and asked him to bowl six different balls and that did the trick as the RCB skipper soon departed and CSK cruised to a 6-wicket victory at Sharjah.
Dwayne Bravo returned with a figure of 3-24 for CSK against RCB and was adjudged man of the match. His spell besides Shardul Thakur’s 2/29 restricted RCB to 155 after Virat Kohli and Devdutt Padikkal put up 111-run opening stand.
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“Bravo is fit and executing them well. I call him my brother and we always have fights over whether he should bowl the slower ball. But now everyone knows that he has the slower ball, so I told him to bowl six different balls in an over,” MS Dhoni said at the post-match presentation.
But before that Dwayne Bravo’s over, MS Dhoni was a concerned man. Virat Kohli and Devdutt Padikkal had hammered all the bowlers out of the park and Moeen Ali was the choice. But, he changed his mind and asked Dwayne Bravo to ball and the rest is history.
“We were worried about the dew and we saw that last season. They got off to a great start and after the eighth or ninth over, the pitch slowed down a bit. Jadeja’s spell was very crucial especially with the way Padikkal was batting from one end. I told Moeen that he would bowl from one end during drinks, but then I changed my mind. I decided Bravo should bowl because the more you delayed him, the more difficult it was given that he’d have to bowl four straight overs in these difficult conditions,” MS Dhoni said.
CSK chased the target of 156 in 18.1 overs, defeating RCB by 6 wickets to move to the top of the table. For Chennai Super Kings, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ambati Rayudu scored innings of 38 and 32 respectively. Faf du Plessis also scored crucial innings of 31 while MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina lead the team across the victory line with winning runs. For RCB Harshal Patel scalped two wickets while Yuzvendra Chahal and Glen Maxwell returned with one wicket each.
“Our players have worked hard and understood their roles and responsibilities. All three grounds here are different. This one is the slowest of the lot. I felt the left-right combination here was important with the bat. We bat deep with a lot of lefties and all of them are good to bat at any position, which is why we pushed Raina and Rayudu down,” MS Dhoni said.
Dwayne Bravo was happy to put up a match-winning performance.
“IPL is the toughest competition in the world. It works on some days and on some days it doesn’t. My pride and my love for this game keeps me going. Virat was a very important wicket and RCB are a big side,” Dwayne Bravo said in the post-match presentation.
“I just wanted to keep it simple. As I said, preparation is the key for me. I practice in the nets, keep myself healthy and use my experience to come up in these situations. Experience will always get us through in this franchise. The message from the coach in the dressing room is that we might not always be the quickest, but we will get the job done,” the West Indian added.
After this victory, CSK returns to the top of the table ahead of Delhi Capitals (DC) on Net Run Rate (NRR). For RCB, things are getting a tad trickier, and they will need to get back to winnings ways soon, as the rest of the pack are catching up on them.