This was a game between two teams that have looked so very good right through the tournament. While CSK take pride in their batting depth, RR have been a side that has taken pride in gelling together as a team. This was a match between teams ranked 3 and 4 on the points table. This was a contest between the street smart captainship of MSD and the rule book oriented, experienced capatiancy of Dravid. And boy !! Whatta game it turned out to be there in Chennai. It was a humdinger and went right till the last ball. But some intelligent batting from CSK, who held their nerves despite losing Dhoni, ensured that they won with 1 ball to spare and top the points table.
As Rahul Dravid won the toss and decided to bat first, Rajasthan Royals were off to a flier with Shane Watson playing the innings of the tournament by registering the 1st century of this IPL season. As he expressed himself by hitting 6 Sixes and 6 Fours to score 101 off 61 balls, he ensured that Rajasthan go on to post a formidable total infront of the mighty CSK who are capable of chasing anything at their fortress. Rahane looked a bit subdued today and perished early, falling to an Ashwin delivery that he failed to read. Dravid dropped himself down, very wisely so and sent young Yagnik in just to keep the opposition guessing and to maintain the left hand/ right hand combination going for them. But as Yagnik capitulated to Ashwin, Dravid was dismissed cheaply too, caught behind of a Bravo delivery.
At that stage RR were 113-3 after 14 overs and looking good to score beyond 170. But Watson needed a partner to give him some support and he did get that in the form of Staurt Binny who batted beautifully scoring 36 off 22 balls. Watson was dismissed in his attempt to up the scoring rate once he got to his century but by then he had done all the damage. Rajasthan posted a formidable 185 for the mighty CSK.
We all know that CSK have the batting to chase down any total. But a good start was required to set the foundation and get the momentum going while chasing such a high target. And Mr Cricket, Michael Hussey along with Suresh Raina provided just that for CSK. It was a forgettable outing for Murali Vijay who was dismissed by Chandila. But Raina and Hussey were involved in a match-winning 90 run partnership that helped CSK keep the run rate under 9rpo and chase down the total eventually.
Raina was in his zone today and this is very good news for CSK. In the previous editions he batted brilliantly for CSK. But in this season, he was slightly off color until this match. Tonight he appeared in sublime touch and scored a quick fire 51 from 35 balls. As he was dismissed by Faulkner, who bowled beautifully tonight taking 3/20 in his 4 overs, star finisher, captain MSD walked in with CSK needing just 63 runs of 7 overs. Trust MSD to fancy his chances in chasing down any score at the death. But tonight was a bit different. Hussey was run out by a very good throw from Dravid and Jadeja who looked in very good form through this tournament was dismissed of the very 1st ball he faced from Faulkner. That was a body blow to the CSK who were now left with MSD and Bravo to finish things off.
A superb 19th over from Faulkner which also had him take the wicket of Dhoni, meant that CSK needed 11 runs off the last over. One word for Stuart Binny who took a lovely running catch at the boundary to send Dhoni back into the hut and keep his team’s hopes alive. But some intelligent cricket from Bravo who hit a SIX and then relied on singles ensured CSK won the match with a ball to spare.
They now top the points table and most deservedly so. Rajasthan Royals will be wary of their back to back losses in the last 2 games. Especially this loss in Chennai will definitely hurt them badly. Having scored an imposing 185 they would have fancied their chances to win. They will be itching to play their next game and get a much needed win. Chennai however, will sleep well tonight having risen from No7 in the points table to No1, all in a week’s time.
YES BANK SIXERS AWARD- Shane Watson (6 Sixes)
MoM Award- Michael Hussey (88 from 51 balls) including 13 Fours and 1 Six.
CSK (186/5; Hussey-88 and Raina-51; Ashwin-2/20) beat RR (185/4;Watson-101 and Binny 36; Faulkner-3/20)