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Chennai Super Kings continued with their winning ways in Pepsi IPL 2014 by beating the Rajasthan Royals by five wickets in a last-over finish at Ranchi. Initially, led by Dwayne Smith’s initial boost and Faf du Plessis’ innings-stabilising knock, CSK were taken across the line by the ever-dependable MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja while chasing the 149-run target.
Earlier, RR elected to bat first upon winning the toss. Skipper Shane Watson and Ankit Sharma opened the innings for the hosts. This combination worked out for RR as they gave the team a steady start. They took the score to the 50-run mark in the seventh over. However, R Ashwin finally got rid of Ankit Sharma (30) in the eighth over with the RR score on 60. And while Watson brought up his half-century, Ajinkya Rahane (4) – the new man in – could not make a substantial contribution to the total; he was run-out in the 11th over.
Watson (51) perished in the 13th over, when Mohit Sharma bowled him out. A short while later, Karun Nair (8) was also bowled out; Samuel Badree claimed his scalp to leave RR on 114 for four. Steve Smith (9) and James Faulkner (1), whose heroics saw their team through a couple of nights ago against RCB, failed to make a big impact with the bat today. While the former was cleaned up by Mohit Sharma, the latter suffered the same fate against Ravindra Jadeja a few balls later.
RR then lost Stuart Binny (22); he holed out to Faf du Plessis off the bowling of Jadeja. Dishant Yagnik (4*) and Rajat Bhatia (7) then added 11 runs, before the latter became Mohit Sharma’s third victim. Thanks to some tidy bowling from the CSK’s frontline bowlers, RR were restricted to 148 for eight in their 20 overs.
Mohit Sharma (4-0-31-3) was the pick of the CSK bowlers, while Jadeja (4-0-18-2) and Badree (4-0-19-1) also helped in making regular dents in the RR line-up.
In response, CSK’s trusted opening pair of Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum started in an aggressive manner. They added 20 runs in quick time, before Ankit Sharma got rid of McCullum (6) in the third over. Suresh Raina (2) came to bat at one-down, but even he was dismissed by Ankit Sharma, leaving CSK on 41 for two in 4.2 overs. Dwayne Smith (44), however, rallied on as he took the CSK score past 50 in the seventh over. He added 35 runs with du Plessis for the third over, before he was stumped off the bowling of Kevon Cooper.
At 76 for three in 10 overs, CSK unexpectedly sent Ashwin to bat at No.5. While du Plessis stabilised the run-chase, Ashwin (14) played the supporting role in what was turning out to be a tight game. The pair added 29 runs, before Bhatia bowled Ashwin out in the 15th over. With CSK needing another 44 runs off 31 balls, MS Dhoni walked in to bat. But the CSK skipper had only added 12 runs with du Plessis (37), when the South African batter was cleaned up by Faulkner.
When Ravindra Jadeja joined his skipper in the middle, the run-chase equation read 28 runs off 15 balls. The pair worked the ball around for singles, but CSK needed a few big hits to tilt the game in their favour. That is when Jadeja (11*) stepped up to the plate and struck a maximum to bring the run-chase equation to 17 runs off nine balls. A couple of deliveries later, Dhoni even survived a run-out appeal when he scampered across for a quick double. Thanks to the pair’s efforts, CSK needed 12 off the final over, which was bowled by Faulkner. After a single was scored off the first ball, Dhoni (26*) did what he does best – broke the tension of the run-chase by striking a big one. The home team eventually got over the line with five wickets in hand and two balls to spare.
Man of the Match: Ravindra Jadeja for his all-round performance
Mumbai Indians registered their first away win of Pepsi IPL 2014, in Hyderabad. The Rohit Sharma-led team clocked in a big seven-wicket victory with eight balls to spare. Chasing a competitive 158-run target, MI’s charge was led by opener Lendl Simmons (68 off 50 balls) and Ambati Rayudu (68 off 46 balls), who put their team in the driver’s seat after they had lost an early wicket.
Earlier, SRH won the toss and chose to take first strike. Aaron Finch and Shikhar Dhawan (11) came at the top of the order for the home team. They added 31 runs for the first wicket, before Lasith Malinga dished out his trademark yorker and bowled the SRH skipper out in the fifth over. Lokesh Rahul then walked in at one-down. He took the backseat as Finch took charge of the innings and led his side past the 50-run mark. In all, the pair added 39 runs, before Rahul (10) was run-out in the 10th over.
His dismissal brought the hard-hitting David Warner to the crease with the scorecard reading 70 for two in 9.5 overs. And while Finch, who brought up his second half-century of the season, had got his eye in, the MI bowlers didn’t let the duo run up the scoreboard. The pair added 63 runs in 54 balls, before Finch (68) holed out to Kieron Pollard in the deep off the bowling of Malinga. Naman Ojha (7*) then paired up with Warner (55*) – who brought up his half-century as well – and added 24 runs in the last seven balls to take SRH to a competitive 157 for three.
In response, MI lost CM Gautam (1) early; Bhuvneshwar Kumar got the better of him in the second over. But then, Lendl Simmons and Ambati Rayudu came together and tilted the game in their team’s favour. The duo denied the SRH bowlers any opportunities and capitalised on any loose offerings from them. During their 130-run stand, both players brought up their half-centuries. They struck a total of 12 fours and six maximums during their 87-ball liaison. However, before MI got across the line, Simmons (68) was cleaned up by Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the 16th over.
And then, in the next over, Moises Henriques caught Rayudu (68) off his own bowling. But that was the last bit of success SRH would taste as Rohit Sharma (14*), who was ably supported by Kieron Pollard (6) at the other end, took MI home with seven wickets in hand and eight balls to spare.
Man of the Match: Ambati Rayudu for is match-winning half-century