Albie Morkel, the most capped player in IPL, turned what looked like a lost match for Chennai into a dramatic win at Chepauk on Thursday.
Chasing a mammoth 206 for a win, Team Chennai seemed to have reached a dead end after 18 overs, requiring 43 from the next 12 balls but what followed was a nightmare for Team Bangalore as the South African southpaw smashed change-bowler Virat Kohli for 28 runs in the penultimate over with three sixes and two fours.
Morkel did not last to see the end of Bangalore, but Chennai had already got the tonic they needed as Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja followed up the South African's blitzkrieg by taking the required 15 off the last over. Jadeja hit a four off the last ball to third man to give the defending champions their second win in four matches this season and the credit of the second highest successful run-chase in IPL.
It was a painful loss for Bangalore because they had done everything right for 38 overs only to hand the match to Chnenai in the last two overs. Captain Daniel Vettori's decision to bring on Kohli to bowl the penultimate over would be debated. The bowling let the team down, though Muttiah Muralitharan was the exception.
Faf du Plessis, who failed to impress in the earlier matches, made a useful 71 (46b, 5x4, 4x6) to give Chennai a good start after opener M Vijay (11) fell to a brilliant catch by Muralitharan. However, the asking rate climbed to 12 before the halfway stage. But skipper Dhoni (41, 24b, 1x4, 6x2), Albie Morkel (28, 7b, 2x4, 3x6) and Dwayne Bravo (25 off 15) helped Chennai savour an exhilarating win.
The MAC wicket, which had low bounce in the last match, changed its character and the Bangalore top-order made the most of it.
Chris Gayle, who had troubled Chennai earlier, came up with a blistering 35-ball 68 to help Bangalore cross the 200-run mark. Gayle, the star of last season, hammered the bowlers all over the park for his six sixes and two fours with one of the sixes, off West Indian teammate Bravo, landing outside the stadium. Gayle's opening partner, Mayank Agarwal (45, 26b, 5x4, 3x6) was very impressive too.