Confrontations, sixes, drama, no-balls, an animated MS Dhoni and a nerve-wracking victory, the last over of this high-voltage encounter had it all. After restricting a star-studded RR side to a modest 151, CSK lost wickets in heap only to be rescued by Ambati Rayudu and MS Dhoni eventually.
Shane Watson (1/10): Shane Watson looked like a sitting duck against the moving new ball, the intimidating Australian’s struggles with the bat only got worse after being dismissed for a duck. With Sam Billings warming the bench, the race for the top-order is already tight. Watson was in supreme touch prior to the IPL, but his parched runs column in last few innings have only raised questions over his spot in the playing XI.
Faf du Plessis (2/10): Chasing 152 on a tricky surface needed a solid opening start, and CSK were not fortunate enough to get one. Du Plessis looked cautious with the bat but there was no real application. Although Royals bowled well with the new ball, one can expect the South African to have done a better job. His fall steered CSK to all sorts of trouble and the momentum shifted completely in Royals’
Suresh Raina (1/10): Suresh Raina’s dismissal was as frustrating as it could get. At this level, one cannot afford to step a foot wrong, the teams give it all to score every run and earn every wicket. After flicking a length ball, Raina got a little lethargic and started ball-watching while sneaking a single. He underestimated the
Ambati Rayudu(7/10): With the World Cup squad all set to be announced in next few days, Rayudu has pushed his case for the No. 4 spot at the very right time. He got the tough runs but failed to finish off the game, something which is expected from a batsman who has batted for 47 deliveries. Rayudu looked in good control and played few elegant strokes
MS Dhoni (8/10): MS Dhoni continues to become the talk of the town, but he raised the bar a little higher in this encounter. When a no ball was turned down by the square leg-umpire, an animated Dhoni marched to the centre and exchanged a few heated words with the officials, something which the CSK skipper isn’t reckoned for. He is the brand ambassador of the spirit of the game and one of the key reasons behind CSK dominating the Fair Play Award, but this act was rather contradictory. His brilliance with the bat got overshadowed, but he brought his side close to another victory. A fifty under pressure was a perfect way to
Kedar Jadhav (2/10): Despite losing three early wickets, the CSK dugout would not have panicked as they batted deep. They needed someone to stable the Harakiri while keeping up with the required rate. Kedar Jadhav has mastered this task with this belligerence and uncanny knack of stealing runs with his guile. Stokes was stationed at backward point when Jadhav cut a short delivery from Archer to his left. It needed some serious reflexes to cup that one and Stokes did an outstanding job to get rid of Jadhav early on in the innings.
Ravindra Jadeja (7.5/10): Wooh! How did Jadeja hit that one out of the park? This question popped up in thousands of minds tonight when the southpaw dispatched one in the stands while losing his balance completely. Outstanding with
Deepak Chahar (7.5/10): In cricket, there are few things as mesmerising as to see a fast bowler making the ball move in the air. A quality that only belongs to a rare breed of bowlers and Chahar definitely belongs to that class. He continues to grow as CSK’s strike bowler and Dhoni has
Mitchell Santner (8/10): Santner won hearts and game with his last ball heroics to seal a nail-biting finish for his side. He was equally efficient with the ball as well. After a terrible first over, Santner held his nerves and made an impactful comeback in the next three. The all-rounder accounted for the key wicket of Samson and conceded just 25 runs in four overs, which is outstanding in this murderous game for bowlers.
Shardul Thakur(5.5/10): Death bowling is suicidal in this batsmen dominated game, and Shardul Thakur’s 18-run over is a testament to it. He got rid of the dangerous Buttler and then put brakes on Parag’s run, but leaked runs in the death overs only to disrupt his figures and camouflage the impact he had had with the new ball.
Imran Tahir(7/10): Tahir has been a sensation to watch in the IPL. He may have remained wicketless in this game, but kept the Royals’ batsmen under check. Tahir showed good control with the ball and maintained the pressure in the middle overs. He is gradually turning into one of Dhoni’s go-to weapon and the repository of management’s faith have found form at the right time.
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