Ravindra Jadeja pointed out why he is such a vital cog in the Chennai Super Kings machinery with a completely dominant overall performance that brought down the sails of the Royal Challengers Bangalore. He set it up with the bat, scoring an unbeaten 62 balls, a stunning display of a powerful hitter, beating 2021 IPL Purple Cap holder Harshal Patel for 37 points in the CSK innings final. With the ball he trapped the wickets of Washington Sundar, Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers, and affected Dan Christian’s run-out to give Virat Kohli’s side their first loss of the season.
Jadeja gains momentum with the bat
IPL can be a cruel tournament. It is enough to end it to destroy a reputation and to break the confidence of a player. Harshal Patel has been RCB’s number one bowler this season, showcasing his wares as a Death Specialist. Three overs in Sunday’s game, the playmaker had 15 wickets, all scalped in the second half of the innings (between overs 11-20). In fact, it was his double strike in the 14th – with the wickets of Suresh Raina and Fat du Plessis – that ignited RCB’s hopes of restricting CSK to a score below 170, before the final. All of that has changed, thanks to Jadeja’s brutal power. The all-rounder smoked five sixes and a limit off Patel to collect 37 points that propelled CSK to 191/4 after 20 overs. It was the most expensive joint ever made in IPL history that put the MS Dhoni team in the ascendant position midway through.
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Patel, who had numbers 3/14 before that fateful final, was guilty of bowling of predictable lengths. Jadeja, for her part, made RCB pay for dropping him in the 15th, when he had not yet opened his account.
Earlier, it was the openers of CSK who set up their team, with a partnership of 74 points in 9 overs. Ruturaj Gaikwad impressed with his stroke play on a 33-25 ball, while du Plessis continued his formidable form with another half-century assured.
Weave a web around RCB
Regardless of the format, Jadeja has shown over the years that she doesn’t need a row turner to run through teams. It can be just as devastating on slow, calm trails. With subtle variations in rhythm, a difficult-to-decipher trajectory, and pinpoint precision, he has woven a web around the drummers in many cases. At Wankhede Stadium on Sunday, he provided another example of what makes him such a vital asset. RCB, chasing 192, had run 65/2 in Powerplay, when Dhoni handed the ball over to his trusted lieutenant. At the right time, Jadeja struck with a slow delivery which caused Sundar to take a shot at the wrong time and gave Gaikwad a simple hold from the depths. On the fifth delivery of his second plus, he knocked out Maxwell, with one that slipped with his arm.
Jadeja then duped de Villiers with a drift and turn to hit the top of the South African star’s central stump. In between his exploits with the ball, the 32-year-old also showed his worth on the pitch by knocking out Christian with a direct hit. From 65/2 in six overs, RCB had risen to 83/5 in 10.1 overs, and one point of no return. Much like he had done with the bat, Jadeja, with numbers 3/13, changed the complexion of the game with skillful bowling and electric fielding.