Ravichandran Ashwin (40 n.o., 23b, 2x4, 3x6) donned the role of a finisher in style to give Rajasthan Royals (RR) a five-wicket victory over Chennai Super Kings (CSK) at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on Friday. The win helped RR (18 points) seal a IPL 2022 playoffs spot, alongside Gujarat Titans and Lucknow Super Giants.
Faced with a target of 151, RR was cruising at 104 for three. Leg-spinner Prashant Solanki took out Yashasvi Jaiswal (59, 44b, 8x4, 1x6) and Shimron Hetmyer (6, 7b, 1x4) in quick succession to set the alarm bells ringing in the RR dressing room.
The experienced Ashwin, undaunted by the climbing required run rate, managed to hit the big shots at the right time to ease the pressure. Ashwin and Riyan Parag (10 n.o., 10b, 1x4) carried RR home with two balls to spare.
Earlier, Super Kings posted a sub-par total, with only Moeen Ali (93, 57b, 13x4, 3x6) showing positive intent. Super Kings failed to make the best use of a flying start provided by Moeen.
AS IT HAPPENED |
Moeen was in full flow, even as wickets tumbled around him. The England batter got going by smashing Prasidh Krishna for 18 runs in the fourth over.
Fellow pacer Trent Boult had it worse as Moeen unleashed his full array of strokes. The New Zealand left-arm seamer was carted for five fours and a six as a whopping 26 came off the sixth over. An upper cut, which easily cleared short third-man, brought up Moeen’s first fifty of the season.
Moeen’s pyrotechnics powered Super Kings to 75 for one after six overs. He was helped by some poor tactics from the Rajasthan Royals bowlers, who either over-pitched or bowled short dollies.
READ|Rajasthan Royals books second spot in IPL 2022 playoffs race, faces Gujarat Titans in Qualifier 1
At the other end, Ruturaj Gaikwad (2), Devon Conway (16), Narayan Jagadeesan (1) and Ambati Rayudu (3) fell cheaply. The fall of Rayudu’s wicket was welcomed by the packed house at Brabourne Stadium as their hero MS Dhoni made an entry.
Dhoni was typically circumspect in his approach, taking his time to settle down. He received two lives, on zero and three, dropped both times by wicketkeeper Sanju Samson. The Super Kings supporters, a boisterous, overwhelming majority at the stadium, had to wait for a Dhoni highlight - a big six over mid-wicket.
The Super Kings skipper exited in the 19th over, lofting a length ball outside off from Yuzvendra Chahal to long-on.
Moeen departed just short of a century. Chahal and West Indian left-arm pacer Obed McCoy were impressive, taking two wickets each.
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