Suresh Raina's quickfire half-century went in vain as Chennai Super Kings went down to Royal Challengers Bangalore by five wickets in a thrilling finish in the Indian Premier League in Ranchi, on Sunday.
Bangalore's top order struggled to get going on a wicket offering a lot of assistance to the spinners before they made a stunning late recovery courtesy of AB de Villiers, who played a cameo innings of 28 from 14 balls to keep their hopes alive of making it to the play-offs.
Chasing 139 for victory, Bangalore found the going tough with the Chennai slow bowlers seemingly tying them into knots in the first half of their innings but they exploded towards the end to overhaul the target with one delivery to spare.
Chennai captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni used the spinners to bowl the majority of the overs. R Ashwin (2/16), Suresh Raina (0/20), Ravindra Jadeja (0/31) and Samuel Badree (0/15) made most of the helpful conditions to leave Bangalore struggling on 45 for one at the halfway mark.
Opener Chris Gayle, who top-scored for Bangalore with an uncharacteristic 50-ball 46, played and missed several times against the slow bowlers but managed to keep the scoreboard ticking.
Following the victory, Bangalore jumped to fifth place with 10 points from 11 matches while Chennai, who were virtually through to the play-off stage, stay second with 16 points from 11 games.
Gayle and Virat Kohli rallied RCB after an early wicket as they put on 61 runs for the second wicket. Kohli made 27 from 29 balls before he was stumped off Jadeja in the 15th over.
Gayle and de Villiers went on the attack to keep the asking rate under control as both the batsmen hit Ashwin for a six each in his final over.
The off-spinner raised Chennai's hopes with the wicket of Gayle, but de Villiers continued the assault. The South African hit David Hussey for a six and a boundary to get 15 runs from the 18th over before he was dismissed off the last delivery of that over.
Dhoni took the gamble of giving part-timer Hussey the final over of the innings with Bangalore needing 10 runs for victory despite having overs in hand of other specialist bowlers including Samuel Badree and Mohit Sharma.
The in-form Yuvraj Singh hit a six from the first ball before Abu Nechim finished off the match with a boundary from the fifth delivery of the over.
Earlier, Raina overcame early jitters to hit an unbeaten half-century and guide Chennai Super Kings to a modest 138 for four.
During his quickfire innings of 62 from 48 balls, Raina struck a six and six boundaries to help his team to a decent total after they struggled to force the pace for a major part of the innings.
The Bangalore bowlers were very economical with Abu Nechim the standout performer with the ball as he claimed one for 18 in four overs, while Varun Aaron took two for 29 from three overs.
Opting to bat, Chennai did not have an ideal start as they lost both their openers within the first five overs, with Aaron accounting for Dwayne Smith (9) and Brendon McCullum (19).
Raina walked into the middle when Chennai were in the spot of bother after losing two wickets in the same over with just 29 runs on the board in the fifth over.
Along with David Hussey, Raina rebuilt the Chennai innings, putting on 75 runs together for the third wicket.
Raina was more dominating of the two batsmen as he kept getting the boundaries at regular intervals, even as Hussey struggled to get going. Finally it was Muttiah Muralitharan who saw Hussey off for a 29-ball 25.
Even Chennai skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni failed to take off despite hitting an early boundary off Yuzvendra Chahal.
Raina and Ravindra Jadeja struggled to get going in the death over as Chennai failed to hit even a single boundaries in the last four overs. They scored just 31 runs from the last five overs.