Cape Town - Left-arm paceman Ashish Nehra took 4-10 to enable the Chennai Super Kings to cruise to a 27-run Indian Premier League win over the Royal Challengers Bangalore at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on Wednesday.
According to the supersport.com website, Chennai set a challenging target of 182, thanks in part to a vigorous effort from Faf du Plessis at the head of the tail, but the Challengers, despite their name, were never able to build a partnership which would offer a fight.
It was Du Plessis in the field that got the ball rolling after the Challengers set off in pursuit of a run-rate of just over nine. The South African took a brilliant catch, one handed, diving back to dismiss Manvinder Bisla (17), with the score on 31 in the fourth over.
Two balls later, Rilee Rossouw was gone for 14.
That really unsettled the Challengers, for they could harvest just 29 runs off the next five overs, 17 of which came off Ravichandran Ashwin's first over when Virat Kohli got hold of him.
And in between, they lost Dinesh Karthik, superbly caught by Dwayne Bravo off Ishwar Pandey.
It went from bad to worse when AB de Villiers was run out for 14 after some indecision by Kohli in the 12th over with the score on 85 for four and the run-rate climbing to 12.
From there, it was all downhill for the home side. Six wickets went down for 69 runs, including two in two balls by Nehra, starting with Kohli, who top scored with 51.
Earlier, Du Plessis hammered a quickfire unbeaten 33 to boost the Kings' total.
Suresh Raina (62) and Dwayne Smith (39) had provided the foundation, but both perished when well set and the rest of the line-up gave little support in the closing stages as the legbreak of Yuzvendra Chahal (3-40) and the left-arm spin of Iqbal Abdulla (2-36) undermined their target.
Put into bat on a damp and drizzly night, the Kings seemed determined to impose themselves and got through the power play with 45 on the board and the loss of Brendon McCullum who cut Chahal to point having scored just four.
Still, they had Smith, who took control and was particularly hard on David Wiese. The South African allrounder had a dream start to the season last time out by taking 4-33, but Smith brought him back to earth, taking 17 off one over. His first six was driven straight down the ground to bring up 5 000 T20 runs for the West Indian.
He looked in complete control, but then bizarrely stretched for a delivery from medium-pacer Harshal Patel and was caught behind for 39, which included three sixes and thee fours.
At 70 for two, Raina had to take over. With a mighty six off Iqbal, he saw the Super Kings to 81 for two at the halfway stage, and to the hundred mark off 71 balls.
He, too, looked as if he would take this game away, smashing three consecutive sixes off Chahal, but the fourth heave fell just short and into the hands of Rilee Rossouw at long-off. He had six sixes and four fours in his 62.
The Kings were further elated when, eight balls later, MS Dhoni lofted an easy catch to AB de Villiers at cover for 13 and Ravindra Jadeja followed the following over, for eight. It was left to Du Plessis to hold the fort; a stand which proved decisive.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: MS Bisla, RR Rossouw, V Kohli (captain), KD Karthik (wicketkeeper), AB de Villiers, SN Khan, D Wiese, MA Starc, HV Patel, Iqbal Abdulla, YS Chahal
Chennai Super Kings: DR Smith, BB McCullum, SK Raina, F du Plessis, MS Dhoni (captain & wicketkeeper), RA Jadeja, DJ Bravo, R Ashwin, MM Sharma, IC Pandey, A Nehra