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On Saturday, Jadeja (62* off 28 balls with 4×4, 5×6; 3/13 with ball) showed why, on current form, he is India’s best finisher as Chennai Super Kings raced away to a 69-run victory.
Their surging net run rate (1.612) may well help CSK in the latter stages of the tournament.
CSK, after an initial surge, looked set to settle for something in the 160-range when the in-form RCB medium-pacer Harshal Patel came on to bowl the last over. He had given 14 runs off his first three and the odds were in his favour to finish an impressive spell.
But all that turned around in a space of seven balls (one no-ball included). Jadeja, who was dropped before he had scored a run by Dan Christian off Washington Sundar, went deep inside the crease and unleashed an attack on Patel that yielded the joint-highest runs scored in one over, 37, in IPL history.
Jadeja read Patel’s slower balls and targeted a zone between deep midwicket to deep square leg and kept despatching him outside the ground. Patel, having completely lost the plot, tried a couple of short ones but he didn’t have the pace to test the southpaw.
A target of 192 against CSK is always an extremely tall ask, more so if Jadeja gets some turn off the track. He came in to bowl when RCB, after a brisk start, had lost both openers.
Jadeja attacked the stumps and Washington, de Villiers and Maxwell succumbed in their desperation to increase the run-rate. They just couldn’t deal with Jadeja’s guile. Add to that a run-out that he effected with a direct hit to send Christian back and it was just a dream day for Jadeja.
RCB, meanwhile, would like to believe they missed their chances at crucial junctures.