Shane Watson’s century was the highlight of the Chennai Super Kings’ resounding 64-run win over the Rajasthan Royals at the MCA International Stadium in Pune on Friday night. Asked to bat first, CSK piled on 204-5 riding on Watson’s ton, after which their bowlers bundled out the Royals for 140.
CSK, playing their first match at their adopted home ground, raced to 69 in the first six overs, then added 92 in the middle overs, before adding a below-par 43 in the final five overs to finish at 204-5. There were three noteworthy partnerships in the CSK innings; the openers – Watson and Ambati Rayudu – added 50 in 4.3 overs, Watson and the returning Suresh Raina added 81 in 7.2 overs, and finally Watson added 42 in the company of Dwayne Bravo.
Faced with an asking rate of 10.25, the Rajasthan Royals never got going in their run-chase. Opener Heinrich Klaasen, who replaced D’Arcy Short in the XI, lost his stumps in the second over, RR’s man-in-form Sanju Samson was dismissed in the third over, and captain Ajinkya Rahane was dismissed in the fifth over. Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes stitched together a 45-run partnership for the fourth wicket – the biggest in the RR innings. Stokes’ 45 – made from 37 balls – would the top score for Rajasthan Royals. RR would eventually fold for 140 – dismissed in 18.3 overs.
Standout batting performances
Shane Watson was in the zone on Friday night. The Australian was offered two lives early on – Rahul Tripathi grassed him on 8 & 18; other than that, Watson regularly picked the line and length early, and got into good positions to play his strokes. When the ball was pitched short, he was waiting on the backfoot; when there was width, he was ready to flay through the off-side, and when the ball was full, he drove through the gap.
Watson muscled several deliveries through midwicket, hit a few sixes down the ground and mowed the ball through the off-side when there was width on offer. He was positive from the getgo, raced to his half-century off 28 balls, and reached the three-figure score 23 balls later. A visibly tired Watson was dismissed off the penultimate ball of the innings; he had made 106 off 57 balls, and his innings was decorated with nine fours and six sixes. The CSK opener was extremely harsh on the Karnataka pair of K Gowtham and Stuart Binny, hitting them for 5 sixes in all, and scoring 53 runs off the 23 balls the pair bowled to hm.
Notable Support Act – Batting
Suresh Raina, back in the Chennai Super Kings team having recovered from the calf muscle injury that forced him to miss the previous match, made a crisply compiled 46. The left-hander collected four consecutive boundaries off Ben Stokes in the sixth over; he drove one over cover, put away leg-stump deliveries through fine-leg twice, and then when there was width on offer, opened the face of the bat and ran the ball down to thirdman. In the tenth over, he collected boundaries off consecutive deliveries off Jaydev Unadkat, and scored two more boundaries off Shreyas Gopal – one off a googly picked early and hit inside out – in the twelfth over.
Raina was dismissed for 46, made from 29 balls, when his slog-sweep was pouched by K Gowtham at the midwicket boundary.
Standout bowling performance
Shreyas Gopal was the only Rajasthan Royals bowler to get away without any punishment. On a day when the rest of the RR bowlers leaked runs at an economy rate of 11.50 runs per over, the leg-spinner Shreyas finished with sensational figures of 4-0-20-3. His three scalps in this match were Raina (caught deep midwicket), MS Dhoni (caught long-on) and Sam Billings (caught deep midwicket).
When it was Chennai Super Kings’ turn to defend the runs on the board, Deepak Chahar impressed with the new ball. The pacer from Rajasthan was unlucky not to have a wicket in his first over – Shane Watson dropped Klaasen at slip, but then came back strongly to dismiss Sanju Samson (caught at square-leg) and Ajinkya Rahane (castled with a well-disguised slower delivery). Chahar bowled four overs on the trot and finished with respectable figures of 2-30.
Shardul Thakur, Dwayne Bravo and CSK debutant Karn Sharma chipped in with two wickets each.
Chennai Super Kings 204-5 (Shane Watson 106, Suresh Raina 46, Shreyas Gopal 3-20) beat
Rajasthan Royals 140 in 18.3 over (Ben Stokes 45, Deepak Chahar 2-30, Shardul Thakur 2-18, Dwayne Bravo 2-16, Karn Sharma 2-13) by 64 runs.
Man of the Match:
Shane Watson, for his all-round performance (106 & 1-13).