Royal Challengers Bangalore 106 for 2 in 8 ov (Kohli 56*, Gayle 28) beat Chennai Super Kings 82 for 6 in 8 ov (Vijay 32, Zaheer 4-17) by 24 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
It was worth the wait for the thousands who braved the rain at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, as Royal Challengers Bangalore kept their playoff hopes alive by batting Chennai Super Kings out of the game, reduced to eight overs-a-side. Nothing less than two points would have kept Royal Challengers in the race, and their prayers were answered when the rain eventually relented, allowing for a 11pm start. Virat Kohli led from the front with a blistering fifty to lift Royal Challengers to 106, but for a change his bowlers didn't let him down. Having ticked off one box, Royal Challengers will be hoping for Sunrisers Hyderabad to lose to Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday for a possible backdoor entry to the playoffs.
Royal Challengers made a sound tactical move by opening with the captain Kohli, in place of Cheteshwar Pujara, who was dropped based on the team's immediate demand - quick runs at the top. The uninhibited Kohli was the aggressor in the opening stand and batted in one gear till the end, facing more than half of the number of balls of the innings and scoring at a strike-rate of close to 200.
MS Dhoni opened with R Ashwin, presumably to keep Chris Gayle in check, but the batsman ended up playing only three deliveries off him. Kohli regularly used his feet against the offspinner, smothering the spin by getting to the pitch of the ball and launching him down the ground. He picked up his first six by lofting a carom ball over long-on.
At the end of five overs, Royal Challengers blazed to 66, thanks to three consecutive sixes over deep midwicket by Gayle off Jason Holder. Gayle and AB de Villiers holed out to the deep but importantly, Royal Challengers never allowed those dismissals to stall them. Kohli looked ominous with his flat sixes down the ground and he found an able partner in Moises Henriques, who ripped into Mohit Sharma to help take the score past 100.
There was little at stake for Super Kings, apart from carrying momentum into the playoffs. Unlike Royal Challengers' move to promote Kohli, Super Kings were relatively conservative in their approach, not tinkering with their opening pair and, strangely, keeping Dhoni to No.5. Michael Hussey departed early, M Vijay struggled to get his fluency going, and the Royal Challengers bowlers got the ball to swing and bounce more than their opponents managed. At the halfway stage of the chase, Royal Challengers held the edge with the score at 29 for 3. With 40 needed off the last over, the game was Royal Challengers' to lose. Zaheer Khan was the pick of the bowlers, nipping out four wickets in two overs in an eight-over contest.
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo