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Monday, January 24, 2022

Ravindra Jadeja’s all-round brilliance sinks RCB

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Ravindra Jadeja underlined why he is such a vital cog in the Chennai Super Kings machinery with a thoroughly dominant all-round performance that knocked the sails out of Royal Challengers Bangalore. He set it up with the bat, scoring an unbeaten 28-ball 62, a staggering display of power-hitting, pummelling IPL 2021’s Purple Cap holder Harshal Patel for 37 runs in the final over of CSK’s innings. With the ball, he snared the wickets of Washington Sundar, Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers, and affected Dan Christian’s run-out to hand Virat Kohli’s team its first loss of the season.

Jadeja grabs momentum with the bat

The IPL can be a cruel tournament. All it requires is one over to destroy a reputation and shatter a player’s confidence. Harshal Patel has been RCB’s numero uno bowler this season, showcasing his wares as their death-overs specialist. Three overs into Sunday’s game, the pacer had 15 wickets, all scalped during the second half of the innings (between overs 11-20). In fact, it was his double strike in the 14th over — with the wickets of Suresh Raina and Fat du Plessis — that ignited RCB’s hopes of restricting CSK to a score below 170, heading into the final over. All that changed, thanks to Jadeja’s brutal power-hitting. The all-rounder smoked five sixes and a boundary off Patel to collect 37 runs that propelled CSK to 191/4 after 20 overs. It was the joint-most expensive over ever in IPL history that put MS Dhoni’s team in a position of ascendancy at the halfway stage.

Patel, who had figures of 3/14 before that fateful final over, was guilty of bowling predictable lengths. Jadeja, on his part, made RCB pay for dropping him in the 15th over, when he was yet to open his account.

Earlier, it was CSK’s openers who set it up for their team, with a 74-run partnership in 9 overs. Ruturaj Gaikwad impressed with his stroke-play during a 25-ball 33, while du Plessis continued his stupendous form with another assured half-century.

Spins a web around RCB

Irrespective of the format, Jadeja has displayed over the years that he doesn’t need a rank turner to run through sides. He can be equally devastating on slow, placid tracks. Through subtle variations in pace, hard-to-decipher trajectory and pin-point accuracy, he has spun a web around batsmen on numerous instances. At the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday, he provided another example of what makes him such a vital asset. RCB, in pursuit of 192, had raced to 65/2 in the Powerplay, when Dhoni handed the ball to his trusted lieutenant. On cue, Jadeja struck with a slowish delivery that elicited a mis-timed shot from Sundar and handed Gaikwad a simple catch in the deep. On the fifth delivery of his second over, he knocked out Maxwell, with one that slid on with the arm.

Jadeja then conned de Villiers with drift and turn to hit the top of the South African star’s middle stump. In between his exploits with the ball, the 32-year-old also showed his value in the field by running out Christian with a direct hit. From 65/2 in six overs, RCB had slipped to 83/5 in 10.1 overs, and a point of no return. Just like he had done with the bat, Jadeja, with figures of 3/13, changed the complexion of the game with skilful bowling and electric fielding.



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