It could have been Rajat Bhatia’s day but Ravindra Jadeja eclipsed his efforts with both bat and ball to give Chennai Super Kings their second win in three games at Dubai. The CSK all-rounder first batted with responsibility, right through to the end and made an unbeaten 36 on a sluggish taking his side to a par 140/6. Then, he used the double-paced Dubai wicket to his advantage, picking up four for 33 as Chennai squeaked through for a seven-run win.
Things were even when Rajasthan were 38/2 in six overs, and MS Dhoni called on his second spinner, Jadeja. Ravichandran Ashwin had just picked up Ajinkya Rahane in the previous over on 15, and Rajasthan’s skipper Shane Watson had walked in. Jadeja’s first two balls came in with the angle. The first turned square to beat Watson. The second just went with the arm and hit Watson on the pads. For the third the third ball, which landed on length on the middle stump line, Watson jumped forward, reached the pitch of the delivery to smack it over Jadeja’s head for a six.
Jadeja, however, struck back immediately. Watson’s premeditated loft the next ball of Jadeja not having reached the pitch of the ball only went as far as long-off. Sanju Samson, who had hit consecutive sixes off Ben Hilfenhaus in the fifth over, fell victim to Jadeja the very next ball. This was a slightly fullish delivery which turned and had the batsman playing too early. Jadeja accepted a caught and bowled chances. Rajasthan were suddenly 44/4.
Gauging the nature of the wicket, Dhoni stopped Jadeja after just one over and used his pacers to get in a few cheap overs with new men at the crease. The run-rate climbed up beyond eight runs per over as Mohit Sharma and Ishwar Pandey continued till the 12th over.
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Jadeja took the ball back in the 13th over. After conceding nine runs in the first five balls of his second over, which also included a boundary over cover by Steve Smith, Jadeja scalped the batsman on the sixth delivery. Smith, in an attempt to clear the boundary, jumped out to a slightly pulled up delivery. The lofted drive was not middled and Faf Du Plessis made no mistake at long-off and ensured Jadeja his third wicket.
Smith’s departure signalled the entrance of Rajasthan’s tail to the crease. Tim Southee played just four balls, struck a four, was dropped but eventually ended up being castled by a Jadeja arm ball. With four wickets, Jadeja had crushed the backbone of the chase, but Rajasthan still had Rajat Bhatia at the crease. The Delhi all-rounder then smacked Jadeja for a four and six to spoil his figures in the final over. Jadeja ended with 33/4 in four overs.
Rajasthan’s late charge didn’t last long as Bhatia was soon picked up by Hilfenhaus on 23. With Royals needing 24 in the last over, Dhawal Kulkarni hit two massive sixes off Ashwin to bring the match closer but his partner Pravin Tambe refused his call for a second run, to be dismissed runout. Royals’ innings ended on 133, seven runs short of Chennai.
Earlier, after Dwayne Smith played a quickfire knock of 50 in 28 deliveries, including three sixes and six fours, none of the CSK top-order batsmen managed double figures. Jadeja came out to bat in the eleventh over with Dhoni at the other end. CSK were 74/4. Pravin Tambe got Dhoni out in the first ball of the 12th over and a score of 140 looked difficult. But Jadeja stuck around, pushing the ball into the gaps for singles and twos and made sure runs were trickling in. In his unbeaten 36, he hit only two boundaries, off Tambe and pacer Kulkarni.
Rajat Bhatia was the most successful bowler for Royals, making use of the sluggish track with his array of slow balls and cutters to end with figures of 4-013-2. He was instrumental in putting the breaks on CSK after Smith had given the side a great start. He picked up danger man Suresh Raina and then Delhi teammate Mithun Manhas on 10, but it proved insuffecient in the end.