MS Dhoni’s Team Chennai beat Virat Kohli’s Team Bangalore by six wickets on Friday at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium to reclaim the top spot on the points table. After winning the toss, Chennai put Bangalore to bat first and restricted them to 156-6 in 20 overs. The men in red were helped by a 111-run partnership from their openers before the rest of the batting line-up fell like a pack of cards. In reply, the Chennai batters chased down the target with 11 balls to spare. Let’s look at the major talking points from the game.
Virat Kohli’s no-look six
Kohli, who is leading Bangalore for one last season, has not been at his best as a batter in the recent past. In his first Indian T20 League game after the tournament’s resumption, Kohli managed only five runs, and made news for wrong reasons once again. Against Chennai, however, Kohli bounced back to form and hit a 41-ball 53 that was laced with six fours and one six. That one six, however, was what stood out.
In the fourth ball of the fourth over, Shardul Thakur bowled a full length ball which went into the arc of Kohli, who hit it for a six over mid-wicket after generating power with his bottom hand. The huge six – 82 meters – landed on the roof of the stands at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. And with that beautiful no-look six, the 31-year-old reminded everyone that class is permanent.
A 111-run opening stand by Team Bangalore
After a 181-run opening stand between Kohli and Devdutt Padikkal in the tournament’s first leg in India, they stitched another impressive opening partnership of 111 runs in the second leg. The two batters were hitting big shots from the word go, collecting 55 runs in the powerplay overs. While Kohli scored 53, Padikkal chipped in with a 50-ball 70, finding the boundary eight times. For the 21-year-old, this was the sixth fifty of his Indian T20 League career. For Kohli, it was the 41st. However, the India captain missed out on a big landmark during his innings. Before this game, Kohli needed 66 runs to become the first Indian and fifth overall to complete 10,000 T20 runs, but he was dismissed on 53.
Bangalore’s middle-order stumbles
Apart from the half-centuries from Kohli and Padikkal, none of the Bangalore batters could get going. After scoring 90 runs for no wicket in the first 10 overs, it seemed like Bangalore were eyeing a total in excess of 180. But they managed only 66 runs for six wickets in the remaining 10 overs. Thakur picked up two back to back wickets in his last over, removing Ab de Villiers for 12 and Padikkal for 70. Glenn Maxwell fell for 11 after hitting Dwayne Bravo for a six, while all the remaining batters walked back to the dugout after scoring in single digits.
Expectations were high from Maxwell particularly, who was bought for a whopping Rs 14.25 crore by Bangalore ahead of this season. The Australian all-rounder started Indian T20 league 2021 with three back to back impressive knocks, two of which were a half-century. But he has not been able to replicate the same in the two games played in the UAE leg so far. Maxwell fell for 10 runs against Kolkata and 11 against Chennai, and will be looking to make amends for the same in the next game.
A great start for Chennai
Openers Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis raced to 59 runs in six overs to give Chennai the kind of start they needed. While Ruturaj fell on 38 off 26, Plessis scored a 26-ball 31. With almost half of the run-chase completed in the powerplay overs, Chennai looked in a winning position all through the game. The middle-order consisting of Moeen Ali (23), Ambati Rayudu (32) Suresh Raina (17*) and MS Dhoni (11*) played their parts as Chennai gunned down the 157-run target in 18.1 overs. Chennai, with 14 points, are now on the top of the points table, while Bangalore with 10 points are placed third.
A Singapore international makes his Indian T20 League debut
After remaining unsold in the 2021 Indian T20 League auctions, Tim David was later snapped up by Bangalore for INR 20 lakhs. The 25-year-old all-rounder has played 14 T20Is for Singapore in which he averages 46.50, and he has also played in some of the world’s biggest T20 leagues. Interestingly, David is now the first player in the world to play in the Indian T20 League before his national team got an ODI or Test status. His first match in the tournament, however, will be one to forget as he managed only a single run off three balls.
The last captaincy face-off between Kohli and Dhoni?
Ahead of the tournament’s second leg, Kohli announced that this will be his last season as the captain of the Bangalore side, while Dhoni is not certain to play in the Indian T20 league next season. What this potentially means is that the Friday game was the last face-off as captains for Dhoni and Kohli, unless the two sides face off again in the playoffs or the final. Fans have always loved the bond shared between Kohli and Dhoni – the two most respected cricketers in India, which made the games between Bangalore and Chennai among the most watched ones in the tournament’s history.