Murali Vijay blasted a quickfire half-century to get Chennai Super Kings back to winning ways, with a five-wicket victory against Royal Challengers Bangalore, in the Indian Premier League in Chennai on Wednesday.
Vijay smashed 78 from a mere 39 deliveries, hitting six sixes and four boundaries, to set the foundation for Chennai's successful run chase.
Suresh Raina held his composure in the closing stages with a brisk 45 from 34 balls to take Chennai to 165 for five in 19 overs and help them register their first victory in five matches.
Earlier, Jacques Kallis continued his golden run with the bat, hitting a half-century as Royal Challengers put up 161 for four in their 20 overs after they had elected to bat.
Kallis made 52 from 49 balls, his fourth half-century of the tournament, before he was run-out by Suresh Raina. He added 63 runs in 51 deliveries for the third wicket with young Virat Kohli, who made 34.
The spinners came to the party for both teams. Anil Kumble bowled a miserly spell, taking one for 16 in four overs, while for Chennai, left-arm spinner Shadab Jakati bowled an excellent spell, claiming two for 17 from his four overs, and Muttiah Muralitharan gave away just 21 runs in four.
Chennai finally ended their run of four losses with a hard-earned victory, while Bangalore have now lost two matches in a row.Royal Challengers Bangalore:
Opener Jacques Kallis and Manish Pandey got going with a boundary each in the second over from Manpreet Gony. Thilan Thushara bowled a tight first over and followed it up with the wicket of Manish Pandey in his next over as the right-hander top edged a pull shot and was taken by wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni for five, in the third over of the innings.
Robin Uthappa, promoted up the order, after the early wicket of Pandey got an early lifeline even before he had opened his account. He tried to pull Albie Morkel across the line but ended up lobbing a simple high catch towards mid-off but to Chennai's dismay, Gony put down the easy offering in the fourth over of the match.
The very next delivery Morkel suffered further when Kallis cracked him for a boundary through the covers.
Interestingly, Uthappa was dropped twice in the previous match against Chennai and he made them pay with a match-winning innings of 68 from 38 balls. And it seemed to be heading the same way when Uthappa compounded Gony's miserable day further hitting him for back to back sixes and a boundary through the thirdman region, in the sixth over.
With runs flowing against the seamers, Dhoni was forced to introduce left-arm spinner Shadab Jakati into the attack and the move paid off. Uthappa (21 from 13 balls) tried to slog sweep Jakati but hit it straight into the hands of Gony at midwicket, who pouched it neatly this time as Bangalore were reduced to 55 for two after seven overs.
The spinners managed to put some brakes on the scoring with Jakati taking one for 11 in two overs and Muralitharan conceding just four in his first over.
But debutant Chandrasekar Ganapathy went for runs in his first over when he was hit for a boundary through the thirdman region by Kallis and a six over midwicket by Virat Kohli to take the total to 80 for two after ten overs.
Kallis brought up his half-century off 41 balls with a single on the off-side in the 14th over from Gony but Bangalore were not allowed to break free in the middle overs.
Muralitharan settled down into a good rhythm and conceded just two runs in his third over. Kohli tried to break the shackles and tried to lift Jakati down the ground but it straight to Murali Vijay at long-on to be dismissed for 34 from 24 balls.
A couple of deliveries later, Chennai got the big wicket of Kallis, who was run out for 52 from 49 balls. Jakati kept it tight against new batsman Kevin Pietersen for the first maiden of the match and finish with excellent figures of two for 17 in four overs.
Cameron White struck a few lusty blows in the penultimate over when he hit Thushara for a boundary and six off consecutive deliveries. Pietersen also made his presence felt when he slammed a full delivery from Thushara in the stands over long-off for 18 runs in the 19th over.
Pietersen finished unbeaten on 23 from 14 balls, while White made 21 from 13 balls as Chennai finished on 161 for four in 20 overs.
Chennai Super Kings:
Murali Vijay stole the limelight from Matthew Hayden in the opening overs. He started with a boundary in the first two overs -- from Praveen Kumar and Dale Steyn -- before taking the former apart in the third with three sixes.
He was lucky to get his first six, his top edge off an intended pull shot going over the fine leg boundary. But the next two sixes went off the middle of the bat over the square leg and midwicket fences before scoring a boundary through fine leg.
While Hayden was yet to open his account, Vijay had raced to 37 from 17 balls, hitting three sixes and three boundaries, to take Chennai to 38 for no loss after three overs.
Hayden got his first boundary of the innings when he hit Kallis over the long-on fielder for a huge six, in the fifth over.
But somehow it was not to be Hayden's day, as he struggled to 12 from 14 balls before he was dismissed. He charged down the wicket to Kumble but was beaten by the googly and wicketkeeper Robin Uthappa completed an easy stumping.
Chennai were reduced to 62 for one after seven overs.
In the next over, Vijay raced to his half-century from just 29 balls with a double on the leg side off Kallis. The Chennai opener continued his attacking approach against part-timer Pietersen, whom he carted over midwicket for his fourth six of the innings.
The right-hander then took Pietersen to the cleaners with a couple of huge sixes down the ground. He charged down the wicket and lifted the part-time spinner over the mid-on fielder for back-to-back sixes.
However, Pietersen had his revenge when he had Vijay caught at wide mid-on attempting another huge hit. The Chennai opener had put this team in control with a blazing innings of 78 from 39 balls, that was laced with six sixes and four boundaries.
His onslaught took Chennai to 105 for two after 11 overs, leaving them with 57 runs to score from the last nine overs.
However, his dismissal saw Bangalore fight back with a couple of tight overs, Kumble conceding just two in the 12th over and Steyn giving away four runs in the next.
Raina broke the shackles when he lifted Vinay Kumar over the cover fielder for a boundary in the 14th over. In the next over, captain Dhoni smashed his counterpart, Kumble, straight down the ground for a powerful boundary as Chennai reached 125 for two after 15 overs, needing 37 from the last five overs.
Kumble finished with wonderful figures of one for 16 in four overs, conceding just a single boundary and that too off the final delivery of his spell.
However, Bangalore brought themselves back in the contest with two wickets in the space of two overs. Dhoni struggled for 14 from 19 balls before he pulled a short delivery from Steyn straight to Dravid at midwicket.
Kallis then gave the visitors another important wicket when he bowled Albie Morkel for one with a slow off-cutter. Chennai were reduced to 146 for four after 18 overs, needing 16 from the last two.
In the next over, S Badrinath played the paddle sweep against Vinay Kumar for an important boundary but fell off the very next delivery for seven as he top edged a pull shot.
With 10 runs needed from the last seven deliveries, the match was up for grabs for both teams. But Raina dashed any hopes Bangalore may have entertained by hitting Vinay over cover for a six after the bowler had bowled a no-ball by overstepping the bowling crease.
Raina ended it in style, hitting a boundary through mid-on to give Chennai a well-deserved five-wicket victory. He was unbeaten on 45 from 34 balls, inclusive of four boundaries and a six, as Chennai put up 165 for five in 19 overs, winning the match with an over to spare.
This was Chennai's first victory in five matches, while Bangalore lost two matches in a row.