Defending champions Chennai Super Kings suffered their second straight defeat on Sunday after losing a classic encounter against Royal Challengers Bangalore by the narrowest margin of one run at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.
The hosts lost skipper Virat Kohli for just nine runs in 2.3 overs after MS Dhoni opted to bowl first on winning the toss. Courtesy of a sensible half-century from Parthiv Patel and Moeen Ali's cameo towards the end of the innings, Royal Challengers posted 161/7 in 20 overs.
The return of MS Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo has strengthened the Men in Yellow, who lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad by six wickets on April 17. Chasing 162, Super Kings were off to disastrous start losing Shane Watson and Suresh Raina in the very first over of their innings.
CSK batsmen were left clueless while tackling the fiery Dale Steyn, who finished the game with figures of 2/29. Reduced to 28-4 in 5.5 overs, it almost seemed impossible for Chennai to clinch a victory at Bengaluru.
Nevertheless, MS Dhoni's blitzkrieg made sure that the visitors were on course during their chase. The former Indian skipper, who was at his belligerent best, smashed five fours and seven sixes during his knock of 84* off 48 balls.
Eventually, CSK fell short of the target by just one run after Shardul Thakur was dismissed by Parthiv Patel in the final ball. Super Kings, who will next face Sunrisers Hyderabad at Chepauk on Tuesday, must make this solitary change to get back to winning ways.
Harbhajan Singh IN for Shardul Thakur
Thakur, who has taken six wickets in eight matches so far, has been pretty expensive with an economy 9.24. After being taken to the cleaners during the loss against SRH in Hyderabad (0/31 in 3 overs), Thakur once again failed to step up with the ball having conceded 40 runs in four overs at the Chinnaswamy Stadium against RCB.
Keepin in mind the quality batting of SRH and the dangerous opening duo of David Warner and Jonny Bairstow, Chennai must opt for Harbhajan, given his experience and sluggish nature of Chepauk wicket.
Returning from a neck injury, the 38-year-old, who has played just four matches so far, might be the triumph card for the Men in Yellow against SRH. Dhoni might be tempted to include the veteran off-spinner, who has taken seven wickets at an economy of just 5.12.
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