The Chennai Super Kings registered their sixth win of VIVO IPL 2019 after they defeated the Rajasthan Royals in a humdinger at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium on Thursday night. Given a target of 152, CSK were in deep trouble after being reduced to 24 for 4 before Ambati Rayudu and MS Dhoni resurrected the chase with a 95-run partnership. When Dhoni was dismissed off the third ball of the final over, CSK still needed 8 from 3 balls. Plenty of drama ensued thereafter – as Umpire Ulhas Gandhe didn’t uphold his initial call of No Ball – prompting Dhoni to walk back to the centre and have a chat with both the Umpires. The equation then came down to CSK needing three runs off the final ball, and Mitchell Santner finished things in style, depositing a length delivery from Ben Stokes into the stands. CSK prevailed by 4 wickets, andgave MS Dhoni his 100th win as IPL captain.
Earlier in the evening, the Rajasthan Royals’ batting line-up once again struggled to cope with the slow surface the curator had dished out. Only two Royals batsmen – Jos Buttler at the top and Shreyas Gopal in the end overs – appeared to have cracked the code to succeed on the surface. Courtesy Buttler’s cameo at the top, the Royals were 54-3 at the end of the powerplay; they were in a good position runs-wise, but had lost one wicket too many in that initial period.
The hosts slipped further when they lost Rahul Tripathi and Steve Smith within the eleventh over; 78 for 5. Ben Stokes was a pale shadow of the destructive player he is known to be; he struggled with the slowness of the pitch, and his job wasn’t made easy with the CSK bowlers not giving him any pace. Stokes made 28– the top score in the Royals innings – before being dismissed in the 19th over when he didn’t pick a knuckle ball from Deepak Chaharand lost his middle stump. The Royals finished strongly though – thanks to Shreyas Gopal, who scored a boundary and a six off Shardul Thakur in the final over. Courtesy Shreyas’ 7-ball 19, the Rajasthan Royals got past the 150-mark and eventually finished at 151-7.
Standout batting performances
Ambati Rayudu and MS Dhoni played knocks which could be preserved as a template for run-chases and rescue acts. Neither batsman panicked despite their team being in plenty of strife. The initial focus was to ensure there were no further setbacks; the duo stitched a partnership and kept the scoreboard ticking with plenty of ones and twos. Every now and then, when the required run rate was just getting out of control, they found the boundary to rein it in.
There appeared to be a plan to the way the pair went about the chase. Given MS Dhoni’s perceived struggles against spin – especially early on, Ajinkya Rahane used plenty of leg-spin against Dhoni, but the CSK captain was up to the task; he scored 31 of 21 balls off the two spinners. By the time Dhoni was finished – bowled by a full length delivery from Stokes – he had scored 58 from 43 balls; his innings contained two fours and three sixes.
At the other end, Rayudu announced his return to form. He began slowly, scoring four runs off the first nine balls he faced, but then shifted gears. From the moment he hit Dhawal Kulkarni into the stands in the fifth over, he began batting confidently. He brought up his half-century in the fifteenth over – getting there in 41 balls.
One of the standout elements of both batsmen’s knocks was how well they ran between the wickets; Rayudu’s 57 contained 23 singles and 4 twos, while Dhoni’s 58 contained 22 singles and 5 twos.
The standout batting performance in the Rajasthan Royals’ innings was Jos Buttler’s cameo at the top. The wicketkeeper-batsman only lasted ten balls, but he struck four boundaries and a six; Buttler’s 23 contained an outrageous hit – a ball from Deepak Chahar that had pitched back of a length was drilled back over the bowler’s head and into the sightscreen.
Standout Bowling performance
Dhawal Kulkarni and Jofra Archer were the Rajasthan Royals’ standout bowlers. If Kulkarni kept things quiet with the new ball, Archer did the job later on. Kulkarni began with a wicket maiden; he got one to jag back in sharply and took out the bail on top of the leg stump behind Shane Watson. He bowled two good overs thereafter – and though he conceded a six in his third, he still finished with impressive figures of 3-1-14-1. Surprisingly, he was not called on to bowl a fourth over.
Archer too struck in his very first over; he was handed the ball in the sixth over, and immediately combined with Ben Stokes – who pulled off a brilliant one-hander at point – to dismiss Kedar Jadhav. Archer gave away only three singles in his second over, and then gave away only four singles in his third over – the 17th of the innings. The Royals fast bowler, who consistently bowled speeds in excess of 140kph, conceded just one boundary in his entire spell – that too was of an inside edge off the final delivery of his spell. Archer finished with figures of 4-1-19-1.
Ravindra Jadejawas the Chennai Super Kings’ standout bowler. The left-arm spinner was introduced into the attack immediately after the powerplay and bowled responded brilliantly bowling three quiet overs in his first spell. Jadeja stuck to a length but mixed up his pace– once in a while getting the ball to turn and planting doubts in the batsmen’s minds. He picked up the wickets of Rahul Tripathi and Steve Smith, and ended with figures of 4-0-20-2.
Rajasthan Royals: 151-7 (Ben Stokes 28, Ravindra Jadeja 2-20)
Chennai Super Kings: 155-6 (Ambati Rayudu 57, MS Dhoni58)
Stat of the Match
With the win in this match, MS Dhoni became the first captain in the IPL to register 100 wins.
Ravindra Jadeja collected his 100th wicket in the IPL when he dismissed Steve Smith.
Man of the Match:
MS Dhoni, for his 43-ball 58.