Navi Mumbai: Shivam Dube and Robin Uthappa’s scintillating strokeplay was complemented by a stellar performance from the spinners as Chennai Super Kings notched up a 23-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore to open their account in the 15th IPL here on Tuesday.
Invited to bat, Dube (95 not out) and Uthappa (88 off 50 balls) conjured up commanding unbeaten half-centuries, smashing 17 sixes and 9 fours between them en route to a 165-run stand — the overall highest for the third wicket and the highest of this season — to take CSK to an imposing 216 for 4.
In reply, RCB was restricted to 193 for nine, with young spinner Maheesh Theekshana (4/33) and skipper Ravindra Jadeja (3/39) running riot with seven wickets between them in CSK’s 200th IPL game.
With this win, the defending champions finally snapped their four match losing streak, while for Bangalore, it was just their second loss in five matches.
Chasing an improbable 217, RCB lost skipper Faf du Plessis (8), who became Theekshana’s first victim and star-batter Virat Kohli (1), who was removed by Mukesh Choudhary, inside the first five overs.
In-form Anuj Rawat (12) too fell inside the power-play after being trapped in front of the wicket by Theekshana.
The 21-year-old spinner from Sri Lanka, who was picked for Rs 70 lakh in the mega auction, then cleaned up debutant Suyash Prabhudessai (34) and Shahbaz Ahmed (41), who tried to take the game deep with their quick 60-run stand off 33 balls.
Theekshana castled Prabhudessai, after the ball beat the inside edge and crashed into the middle stump and then used the carrom ball to dismiss Ahmed and cap off a match-winning spell under the lights.
Dinesh Karthik did create a scare with his 14-ball 34, but that was too little and too late as CSK heaved a sigh of relief with their first points on the board.
At the start, Dube and Uthappa feasted on the RCB attack, smashing scintillating half-centuries.
Earlier, invited to bat, Uthappa and Dube showed their six hitting prowess as they rallied the innings after CSK was reeling at 36 for 2.
While Uthappa’s knock was studded with nine sixes and four boundaries, Dube also hit eight sixes and five fours in his unbeaten 46-ball knock.
Both Dube and Uthappa posted their highest IPL scores to set up the match for defending champions CSK, who are reeling from four straight losses and are still looking for their first win this season.
Uthappa took time to settle and fetched his first boundary only in the fifth over, a cut shot off Mohammed Siraj (0/37), before clobbering Akash Deep (0/58) for his first maximum in the next over.
Uthappa and Dube then upped the ante as they hammered a boundary each off Deep and then the lanky left-handed batter launched into Glenn Maxwell (0/29) for his first six over long-on.
The carnage started from the 11th over as the duo went hammer and tongs and CSK cruised to 133 for 2 in the 15th over, with 73 runs coming in the five overs.
Dube was brutal on Wanindu Hasaranga (2/35), who bled 13 runs, in the 11th over.
Uthappa and Dube spared no bowler with the former striking three sixes off Maxwell in the 13th over as CSK amassed 19 runs.
Continuing the onslaught, the duo punished Deep in the 15th over, as it was raining boundaries and sixes here.
Uthappa stepped up the attack after his fifty and launched into Siraj, hitting him for two sixes and a four in the 17th over, where 18 runs came.
Deep again faced Dube’s brunt, conceding two sixes and a boundary in the 18th over, as 200 looked imminent. Deep bled 24 runs in the 18th over.
Uthappa missed a deserving hundred as he fell in the penultimate over which yielded 14 runs and then Dube compounded the bowling team’s woes by hitting two sixes in the final over to finish the innings in style.
CSK lost Ruturaj Gaikwad (17) and Moeen Ali (3) cheaply. But then it was the Uthappa and Dube show. RCB badly missed the services of Harshal Patel, who had left the bio-bubble following the death of his sister on Saturday.
The RCB players wore black armbands in the match to show solidarity with Patel and his family.