Murali Vijay struck a blistering 78 upfront and Suresh Raina chipped in with a crucial unbeaten 44 down the order as Chennai Super Kings beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by five wickets to keep alive their semifinal hopes in the Indian Premier League on Wednesday.
Opting to bat, Bangalore rode on a 49-ball 52 from South African Jacques Kallis to post a competitive 161 for four, but the hosts overhauled the target with one over to spare at the floodlit M Chidambaram Stadium.
Opener Vijay, who studded his innings with six sixes and four fours, gave Chennai the required momentum in the beginning, while Raina completed the task with an unbeaten 35-ball 44, which he made with the help of four fours and a six.
Chasing the 162-run target, Chennai were off to a good start with the openers Vijay and Matthew Hayden raising 61 runs before a Anil Kumble googly trapped the Australian in the seventh over.
Hayden could contribute only 12 before hosts suffered their first loss, but it was Vijay who attacked the Bangalore bowlers from the very beginning and his aggression had the Bangalore bowlers clueless.
Englishman Kevin Pietersen claimed Vijay just after the strategic break in the 11th over but by then the right-hander had set the tone for his team.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (14) started well but failed to make it big and fell to South African speedster Dale Steyn in the 16th over. The hosts suffered another loss in the very next over with all-rounder Kallis uprooting the stumps of Albie Morkel (1).
But Raina held his nerve to clinch the issue in company of C Ganapathy with one over to spare.
For Bangalore, Steyn took one wicket for 20 runs, while Kumble scalped one for 16.
Earlier, Kallis helped Bangalore post the 162-run target.
Kallis, who struck seven fours during his innings, got good support from Virat Kohli (34 off 24) as the duo added 63 runs for the third wicket before the latter fell to Chennai spinner Shadab Jakati in the 16th over.
Kohli cracked three fours and a huge six during his stay in the middle.
Pietersen (32 not out off 14 balls) and Australian Cameron White (21 not out off 13 balls) — both playing their first IPL III matches — were the other main contributors.
Bangalore suffered an early loss in the third over when opener Manish Pandey (5) fell prey to paceman Thilan Thushara.
Despite the early blow, the visitors maintained a good run rate thanks to a quick 42-run second-wicket partnership between Kallis and Robin Uthappa, who made 21 off just 13 balls with the help of two sixes and a four.
Jakati struck in the seventh over for his first wicket removing a dangerous looking Uthappa, following which Kohli paired up with Kallis.
Kallis and Kohli played sensible cricket finding the gaps for one and twos while hitting the loose deliveries for boundaries.
After the fall of Kallis and Kohli, Englishman Kevin Pietersen and Cameron White — both playing their first IPL 3 matches — carried the tempo till the end of the innings. Both hit two fours and a six in their brief stay at the crease.
For Chennai, Jakati took two wickets giving away 17 runs while Thushara scalped one for 30.