Suresh Raina unfurled those gorgeous cover drives and brutal slow sweeps and old man Ashish Nehra brought out all of his experience into play, and just like that, the Chennai Super Kings eased to a 27-run victory over the Royal Challengers Bangalore, who cannot seem to buy a win at the fortress-that-was Chinnaswamy.
Choosing to bowl first, with rain in the air – wet weather delayed the start of the match by a few minutes – Kohli backed his bowlers, led by the returning Mitchell Starc (4-0-24-1), who was brought into the side for Chris Gayle (no, seriously, the big man was dropped), to restrict CSK to a makeable total.
They did that to a certain extent, with the Super Kings finishing their 20 overs on 181/8, which is pretty much a par score in Bengaluru. However, for the umpteenth time in IPL cricket, all of those superstar batsmen failed to click together, and RCB tailed off rather tamely to finish on 154 for 8.
The decision to drop (or is it "rest") Gayle was a big decision, despite that awful innings from the West Indian in the last game, and the only way to justify that decision was to hope Rilee Rossouw, who opened the innings with Manvinder Bisla, would get that left-handed blade of his flowing at will.
For a little over three overs, it seemed like it will, with Rossouw and Bisla getting off to a brisk start. However, in stepped the getting-better-with-age Nehra (4-0-10-4) again, to, first, dismiss Bisla (17. 14b, 3x4), who holed out to one of the catches of the tournament to Faf Du Plessis, and then castle Rossouw (14, 9b, 1x4, 1x6).
The momentum was taken away like an air out of a balloon with those two wickets, with Virat Kohli and Dinesh why-on-earth-do-franchises-pay-so-much-money-for-him Karthik given the repair job.
Kohli was determined to stay at the crease for as long as possible, but not so much Karthik, who disappointed yet again. But, that Karthik wicket brought AB De Villiers into the crease and the sense of anticipation at the Chinnaswamy grew, with the crowd hoping for one of those "I'll never forget that" partnerships between ABD and Kohli.
For three overs and 24 runs that dream remained, with De Villiers (14, 10b, 0x4, 2x6) thumping a couple of patented sixes, before a misunderstanding while running between the wickets and a moment of absolute brilliance from MS Dhoni saw that dream come crashing down.
Kohli (51, 42b, 4x4, 2x6) did his best to try and keep the match alive, with 17-year-old Sarfaraz Khan, the youngest player to play in the IPL, pumping a couple of big shots as well, but with the required run rate climbing and going way past the 10-run mark with every passing over, the match was gone.
Earlier, Raina lit up the Chinnaswamy with some beautiful strokes in his worth-the-price-of-the-ticket innings of 62 (32b, 4x4, 6x6), after Brendon McCullum fell early and Dwayne Smith (39, 29b, 3x4, 3x6) failed to capitalise on a sound start.
MS Dhoni's struggles with the bat continued, with the CSK skipper unable to find his hitting zone again, despite promoting himself up the order to No.4, and it took a brilliant little knock from Du Plessis (33, 18b, 4x4, 1x6) to ensure CSK reached a defendable score and handed RCB their third straight defeat at home.