Chennai Super Kings hold their nerve to defeat plucky Rajasthan Royals
By IPL desk
Mumbai 21 April 2012
The Chennai Super Kings held their nerves brilliantly at the end to beat the Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets. With two required off the last ball to win, MS Dhoni stayed calm to see the home side through in a closely contested encounter in Chennai.
Chasing a modest target of 147, the Super Kings began their chase in aggressive fashion. Faf du Plessis continued his good form with the bat as he hit Stuart Binny for three boundaries in the second over of the innings. The momentum was with the home side, but the Royals did well to pull things back to a certain extent. Wickets were the key for RR, and their persistence paid off after Subramaniam Badrinath (15) was stumped off a Brad Hogg delivery.
CSK needed a partnership to steady the ship, and it came in the form of du Plessis and Suresh Raina. The duo put on a wonderful show of controlled hitting as CSK began to dominate proceedings. But CSK’s grip on the match loosened after Kevon Cooper dismissed both set batsmen in the 17th over. Du Plesssis (73) nicked one to the wicketkeeper, while Raina (26) got more height than distance as he holed out at long-on. At 117 for three, the home side was suddenly feeling the pressure to score quickly. With eight required off the last over, Stuart Binny bowled well to restrict MS Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo. But the home side eventually got over the line, scoring the required two runs off the last ball.
The Rajasthan Royals began their innings on a positive note. Openers Rahul Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane looked like they were in the middle for a long time. The right-handed duo looked at ease; often caressing the ball to the boundary. But the Super Kings bounced back after Ravichandran Ashwin got the better of Rahane (15). Dravid, on the other hand, used all his experience to keep the scoreboard ticking. The 39-year-old was constantly on the lookout for quick runs. But Shadab Jakati ensured that his stint at the crease didn’t last long. The left-armer induced a false shot from Dravid (26) after he mistimed one to the long-off fielder.
Owais Shah (52) and Ashok Menaria (36) took on the mantle from the RR openers as the duo played sensibly to score at a healthy rate. Their 92-run partnership set the foundation for the Royals to push on at the end. But some disciplined bowling from the home side, especially Nuwan Kulasekara, ensured that RR were restricted to 146 for four in 20 overs.