Bangalore: When rain was pouring down at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Saturday evening, many might have thought that was the end of the road for Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 6 as they were in a must-win situation. But the honest wait of the RCB fans didn't go waste as they witnessed something special from their captain Virat Kohli. The 24-year-old was a man on mission as he single-handedly helped RCB overpower Chennai Super Kings in eight-overs per side match, still keeping his side in the hunt to enter the play-offs.
With this 24-run win RCB have 18 points in 16 matches, same as the Sunrisers Hyderabad have but with a better net run rate. They will be through if Hyderabad lose Monday's match against Kolkata Knight Riders.
Having been put into bat turned out to be a blessing in disguise for RCB as Kohli and Gayle provided the side a rollicking start, sharing 67 runs in a must-win contest. While Gayle got out after a 13-ball 28, Kohli remained unbeaten on 56 off 29.
RCB made 17 runs in the mandatory powerplay of two overs, with Virat Kohli cover driving R Ashwin for four and Chris Gayle depositing Chris Morris over the point fence.
MS Dhoni decided to give Ashwin his second over and Kohli began it by pulling the offspinner for four before coming down to smack another boundary and a maximum, taking 16 from the over.
Morris did the mistake of pitching too full to Kohli who dispatched the South African for two straight hits - first went past Gayle in a flash and the other was a flat crisp six over long-off.
In the next over of Jason Holder, Gayle might have said to Kohli "it's my turn man" as he hit his countryman for three massive sixes in the leg side.
Dhoni should have caught Kohli when Dwayne Bravo managed to get a thick outside edge from his bat off the first ball he bowled, but he spilled a tough chance. Mike Hussey, however, didn't make any mistake as he caught Gayle at covers.
AB de Villiers came out and creamed a full delivery to the cover fence, but was out on the first ball next over when he hit one straight in the hands of long-off Mohit Sharma. Moises Henriques made full use of the limited opportunity, hitting Sharma for three fours on the trot.
Kohli missed the first two deliveries of the last over bowled by Bravo and took full toll of the next four, hitting the medium pacer for two sixes and four to end the RCB innings on a high.
Chennai needed to begin their chase with over 13 runs an over, which was always going to be tough. Mike Hussey although struck a four off the first ball, he was caught behind in the second over of Zaheer Khan. The left-arm swing bowler got two in two balls when Suresh Raina perished off the first ball.
Why MS Dhoni didn't come out to bat when the team lost two quick wickets and needed lots of runs will remain a mystery as Bravo walked in after Raina's wicket. And as expected, he seemed clueless against the seam bowling of Jaydev Unadkat. He hit a six but fell to Vinay Kumar for 11.
MS Dhoni finally came but the situation had already become bad to worse for CSK. He although smacked two fours and two sixes in his 10-ball 24, but that didn't prove enough at the end.
Zaheer Khan returned for his second over and picked up two more wickets to finish with 4 for 17 in four overs as Chennai's innings ended on 82 for 6.