CSK, after winning the toss, thanks to Shane Watson (34 off 39) and Ambati Rayudu (58 off 47) could only put on 149 runs on board, losing six wickets. After Rajasthan found themselves in a winning position at 82/1, they decided to squander the game in dramatic fashion, falling short by four runs.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, CSK were off to another poor start in this season of the IPL SRL. Right in the second over, with the score reading six, the Proteas top-order star Faf du Plessis walked off without making any useful contribution. While Faf exited the scene, Suresh Raina joined hands with Australian all-rounder Shane Watson in the middle. However, even Raina was dismissed by Jaydev Unadkat as the home side put up 21 runs on board. While Watson and Ambati Rayudu batted and bailed the team out of trouble, they could not add more than 62 runs for the third wicket, with Watson getting out. On the back of Rayudu’s 47-ball 58 and useful contributions from Kedar Jadhav (16 off 13), CSK got themselves to 149 for the loss of six wickets after 20 overs.
In reply, Rajasthan’s start was incredible, as the two openers found the tempo early on in the innings. While the partnership between Jos Buttler and Robin Uthappa struggled in the past, this time, they put that aside, piling on 47 runs in the powerplay phase. They continued beyond the powerplay phase before Buttler exited, with the score reading 82/1. The game was in Rajasthan’s favour, given that only 60 runs were needed in the last nine. However, that is exactly where the Chennai bowlers made an impact, starting from Dwayne Bravo’s 15th over, where he picked Steve Smith’s wicket. Shortly after, Imran Tahir pulled a two-wicket over, putting the pressure right back at the Blues. On top of that, Shardul Thakur’s tight bowling alongside his triple wicket ensured CSK pulled off a four-run victory from the jaws of defeat. For Rajasthan, it was Uthappa, who top-scored, with a 51-ball 61.
Imran Tahir’s 17th over in the run chase arguably turned the game on its head, with the twin wickets of Robin Uthappa and Riyan Parag. While Uthappa was still standing tall, on 61 off 51 deliveries, his wicket ensured that the South African leggie was bowling to the new batsman. Parag, who has been hailed highly on the circuit, thanks to his shot-making abilities found an easy way out back to the dressing room. As they say, one brought another and another brought three more to take CSK to an incredible victory.
Highs and Lows
Jaydev Unadkat’s three-fer could not have come at a better time for the Royals, who were suffering a rough patch of games coming into this crucial fixture against the dominant Chennai side. The left-arm seamer left a long-lasting impression on the game, with his three wickets of - Faf, Suresh Raina and Rayudu. While he did pick up three wickets, his economy rate too on the evening was impressive, conceding just 28 runs in his four overs.
MS Dhoni’s poor performance continued for CSK right when they needed their skipper to step up the mark. After the Australian had walked back to the hut, the scoring responsibility was on the 38-year-old to bail Chennai out of trouble to a high-score finish. However, every day is not a Sunday, with the right-handed batsman struggling to up the ante, falling for a six-ball three runs in a high-pursuit fixture.
Powerplay exploitation: CSK 4/10 and RR 3/10
The Super Kings were back at it again, with a slow and ugly start early on in the proceedings against the RR. After a boundary off the very first delivery, a lot was expected from the top-order before Faf du Plessis quashed the hopes in the second over. An over later, Suresh Raina changed the momentum of the innings, with two quick boundaries to put the ball in CSK’s court once again. However, in a jiffy, with Raina’s dismissal, RR clawed their way back into the encounter, conceding just 32 runs in the powerplay phase.
On the other hand, it was indeed a ‘Royal’ start for the chasing Rajasthan side, who were off from the word go. In just the first over, the openers - Jos Buttler and Robin Uthappa put on a show, scoring nine runs, before plummeting 12 more runs in the next two overs to take the total to 21 in three overs. Before CSK had any idea what hit them, Uthappa had already scored 30 off 21 with Buttler scoring 14 off 15 to take the double Rs to a score of 47/0, chasing 150.
Middle-overs manoeuvring: CSK 6/10 and RR 7/10
After losing two wickets, Chennai put themselves into ‘rebuild’ mode, where the duo of Ambati Rayudu and Shane Watson were just going for the runs between the wickets without being ambitious in their shot-making. However, on the day that approach arguably helped them to a steady position, after being reduced to 32/2, with 59 runs on board after the tenth. But, when they decided to up the ante, it was too late and they lost both Watson and MS Dhoni in the 14th and 15th over of the innings. Despite that, the home side had managed to put up 60 runs on board.
Buttler - Uthappa’s partnership continued to impress one and all after the powerplay phase, playing some delightful shots against the dominant home bowling attack. After they put up 47 runs in the first six overs, chasing 150, the approach was indeed surprising to see Rajasthan going all-out attack. With every over, the partnership looks unmissable as both of them found their form. However, Bravo broke the partnership in the 11th over before Tahir got one against his name, dismissing Sanju Samson. That did not stop the Royals from scoring 62 runs through the phase, taking their total to 109 for the loss of two wickets.
Death bowling: CSK 9.5/10 and RR 3/10
However, after two good phases of bowling from the Rajasthan Royals unit, they succumbed under the pressure of a one-man show from CSK - Ambati Rayudu. The No.4 batsman ensured that CSK did not go into the second innings on their one leg, with a 47-ball 58 in tough conditions for batsmen, scoring four boundaries and one six. However, his partnership with Kedar Jadhav towards the end was enough to take the men in Yellow to a total of 149 after the end of the 20 overs for the loss of six wickets. In just the last five overs, the Super Kings’ batters scored 57 runs, at an impressive run-rate of over 10.
Choke - a word that can be associated with Rajasthan’s vulnerable batting display towards the end of the innings. After being at 109/2, chasing 150, all that their batsmen had to do was play their sensible game and score the remaining 41 runs in the 30 ball phase. However, that did not look as simple as said, with the Royal batsman exiting in quick succession. In the 16th over, it was Steve Smith’s wicket which began this inglorious downfall. A double-wicket from Imran Tahir followed by Shardul Thakur’s impressive triple-wicket last over ensured that CSK sealed the fixture by 4 runs, with the Royals scoring just 145 for the loss of eight wickets.
Match Frenzy O Meter - Incredible
It has to go down as one of the best Indian Premier League games in the SRL this season, with both Chennai and Rajasthan’s bowling unit putting on a blockbuster. On the other hand, the lousy batting from the batsmen from both sides ensured that the game went till the last over, with the home side pulling off an amazing victory from the jaws of defeat.
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