MARCH 31, 2019
Brief Scorecard: Chennai Super Kings 175 for 5 (MS Dhoni 75*, Raina 36, Archer 2-17) beat Rajasthan Royals 167 for 8 (Stokes 46, Tripathi 39, Chahar 2-19, Tahir 2-23) by eight runs
CHENNAI – MS Dhoni produced a vintage knock as Chennai Super Kings beat Rajasthan Royals by eight runs at the MA Chidambaram Stadium here on Sunday. After their skipper had powered the innings with a 46-ball 75, it was a combined effort from the bowlers to check the opposition for large parts as they chased a 176-run target.
And despite a late surge from Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes, Rajasthan Royals, needing 12 off the last over, lost by eight runs. They fell short for the third successive game while the champions climbed to the top of the IPL table with three wins.
The match wasn’t expected to go down the wire though, especially after the visitors lost their sixth wicket with 56 required off 23 deliveries. But Stokes (46 off 26) and Archer (24 off 11) turned things around smashing Shardul Thakur and Dwayne Bravo. The latter, however bowled a brilliant last over, getting rid of Stokes off the first ball and then giving away three off the remaining five deliveries.
Royals got off to a horrific start with skipper Ajinkya Rahane, last match’s centurion Sanju Samson and the in-form Jos Buttler all dismissed inside the first three overs. While it was the pace duo of Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur who put the hosts on top, leg-spinner Imran Tahir bowled a terrific spell to dry runs in the middle overs. He returned 2/23, including the prized wicket of Steve Smith.
Earlier, Royals had used the slow pitch to good effect.
While Ambati Rayudu gifted his wicket away trying to steal a boundary down to third-man, Shane Watson and Kedar Jadhav chose to go all guns blazing — not what was required on the pitch. It left the hosts reeling at 27/3.
It did nothing to take away the energy in the stands. As Dhoni walked out, the crowd was up on its feet. Dhoni’s introduction seemed to instill a bit of confidence in Suresh Raina who till then had mistimed quite a few shots. They managed to rotate the strike and for more than three overs didn’t pick a boundary before helping CSK reach 78/3 in 12 overs.
Just when it seemed they were ready to shift gears, Raina (36) was cleaned up Unadkat. CSK could have been in deeper trouble in the very next over but Sanju Samson dropped a difficult chance at covers, reprieving Dhoni. Bravo scored a quick-fire 16-ball 27, with three fours and a six.
CSK took 76 runs off the last five overs. Archer did chip in with an eight-run 19th over but with Dhawal Kulkarni and Unadkat smashed for 24 and 28 runs on either side of that over, CSK had no trouble piling up a solid total.