The calm M.S. Dhoni, captaining Chennai Super Kings (CSK) for a momentous 200th occasion, rang in the changes and cut the angles on the field much like a wizard, as his side crushed Rajasthan Royals (RR) by 45 runs at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Monday.
Dhoni and CSK were in control when Rajasthan, pursuing 189, lost the plot in this IPL clash on a pitch that offered some purchase for the spinners. Ravindra Jadeja and Moeen Ali struck body blows.
Trial by spin
Jadeja’s dream ball triggered RR’s decline. Jos Buttler can innovate and create, and the cheeky dabs and the reverse sweeps were on view. The Englishman was on 49 when Jadeja bamboozled him with a delivery that pitched on leg and hit middle and off.
Jadeja struck again in the same over, sliding one into the left-hander Shivam Dube. CSK made further inroads. Moeen Ali consumed the left-hander David Miller on the sweep. The off-spinner struck again when he had the high-value Chris Morris caught at deep mid-wicket.
It was all over for RR.
Earlier left-arm swing bowler Sam Curran dented Rajasthan Royals early, dismissing Manan Vohra and Sanju Samson with short-pitched deliveries.
CSK made 188 for nine after being inserted and, astonishingly, the highest score was Faf du Plessis's 33. CSK made 46 in the first six Powerplay overs and smashed 61, despite losing wickets, in the last five.
Curran and Dwayne Bravo added crucial quick runs in the end. The intrepid Curran slashed Chetan Sakaria for a six. And Bravo, who struck some brave blows, concluded the innings with a big six over long-on off the innings’ last ball from Mustafizur Rahman.
Meanwhile, Ruturaj Gaikwad’s dry run continued; he was done in by Mustafizur’s change of pace after CSK was inserted. Du Plessis, batting with panache, danced down to strike Jaydev Unadkat for maximum. A stunning blow. However, fellow South African Morris bowled one outside off, and du Plessis, charging, slashed fatally.
The easy hitting Ali soon swung Mustafizur and pulled Morris for sixes before miscuing a short ball from leg-spinner Rahul Tewatia.
CSK pushed on. Ambati Rayudu waded into Tewatia with footwork and timing. The innings once again hit a roadblock when Rayudu hit a back of a length ball from Sakaria to be held at the cover-point fence. Sakaria struck again when Suresh Raina, attempting to switch gears, drove the bowler straight to mid-off.
CSK eventually put together a combative score which proved to be enough in the end.
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