Updated: April 1, 2019 3:01:28 pm
MS Dhoni’s unbeaten 75 off 46 balls complimented with a fine effort by his bowlers helped Chennai Super Kings (CSK) beat Rajasthan Royals (RR) by 8 runs on Sunday. This was CSK’s 14th win in the last 15 IPL matches at Chepauk. With three wins out of three matches, CSK are also on top of the points table.
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Unlike the previous match, the pitch was not a rank turner but did not help stroke-play either. Dhoni batted intelligently and his innings lead the team in yellow to a competitive 175/5 in 20 overs. Royals needed someone to play a similar knock but none took that responsibility and they could manage 167/8, suffering their third defeat in as many matches.
Toss- Rajasthan Royals skipper Ajinkya Rahane won the toss and elected to bowl first. Chennai left out off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and replaced him with Mitchell Santner while the Royals remained unchanged.
First innings- Batting first CSK lost both their openers, Ambati Rayudu, and Shane Watson early. Kedar Jadhav followed suit in the fifth over leaving CSK at 27/3. But from thereon the experienced duo of Suresh Raina and Dhoni forged a 61-run stand to set up the platform for a challenging score.
Using his vast experience Dhoni worked the ball around to keep the scoreboard ticking. Royals were disciplined throughout but Jaydev Unadkat conceded 28 runs in the final over with Dhoni hitting three sixes to set up a grandstand finishing to the innings at 175/5 after 20 overs.
Second innings- Rajasthan had a similar start to CSK, losing their three batsmen within the first three overs. At 14/3, it seemed like the match could well be over before the halfway mark. But Rahul Tripathi’s counterattacking 39 brought the Royals back into the match. A 50-run stand with Steve Smith put RR back in the chase. However, once Smith and Tripathi fell one after the other, Rajasthan found it difficult to get back into the match.
K Gowtham and Ben Stokes did steady the ship but with the asking rate touching 14 runs per over big hits were the call of the day. While Gowtham fell for 7, Stokes (46 off 26) was still at the crease when Royals needed 44 from last three overs. A couple of good overs and the equation came down to 12 from last six balls. Bravo, who was handed the responsibility, conceded just three runs to ensure CSK end on the right side of the result.
Gamechanger- MS Dhoni produced a well-calculated half-century to set up the win for CSK. Dhoni paced his innings beautifully scoring unbeaten 75 off 46 balls to seize momentum from Royals bowlers who were off to an inspiring start. His brutal assault of Unadkat in the final over where he hit three of his four sixes propelled CSK to a match-winning score.
MS Dhoni: “We wanted to get a partnership going – that was needed. We knew there was some dew on the field. We knew it would get easier as the game progresses. We bat quite deep – until 9 (Santner). We could accelerate in the last few overs, and we wanted to get a partnership going at that time. We have a stable XI and there were a lot less left-handers in the opposition, so we gave Mitch Santner a go. Irrespective of the results , it is important to cut the boundaries and it is difficult for the fast bowlers to execute. It’s better to keep hitting the same mark. The home franchise will always get more support than the opposition.”
Ajinkya Rahane: “Very disappointed. We started off really well in the first ten overs, but what cost us were the last five overs. When MS bats it is very difficult for the bowlers. It was very hard for the bowlers to grip the ball after six overs, even the fast bowlers. But CSK bowled really well, they kept taking wickets. As a batting unit, we need to take responsibility for this. We win as a team and we lose as a team. If we win the smaller moments in T20s we will do will. We have played well in the last three games and hopefully with some luck we’ll be able to turn it around.”
Scorecard- Chennai Super Kings: 175/5 in 20 overs (MS Dhoni 75; Jofra Archer 2/17).
(With inputs from PTI)
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