Brief scores: Rajasthan Royals 175/8 (20 overs) beat Chennai Super Kings 172/6 (20 overs) by 3 runs.

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Sanju Samson & co. put up a splendid show and held their nerve to record their first win at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai since 2008, beating Chennai Super Kings by 3 runs on Wednesday.

Opting to bowl first, though the home team started well to clip the Royals’ wings initially, the Men in Pink responded brilliantly to post 175/8 in their 20 overs. The Royals' leading run-scorer of the night, Jos Buttler, led the charge with his third fifty of the season while Devdutt Padikkal (38), R Ashwin (30), and Shimron Hetmyer (30*) chipped in with valuable contributions to help the team post a challenging total.

In reply, the Super Kings were on the back foot as the Royals kept a check on the scoring and held on to their catches to pile pressure on the hosts. On a slow track, the spin duo of Ashwin (2-25) and Yuzvendra Chahal (2-27), along with ‘Impact Player’ Adam Zampa (1-43), led the assault for the Royals. Though efforts from Devon Conway (50), MS Dhoni (32*), and Ravindra Jadeja (25*) took the match deep, the Royals kept their composure to see the match through.

Padikkal repays the faith

Put into bat, the visitors began well with opener Yashasvi Jaiswal going after Akash Singh. But the youngster’s cameo lasted just eight balls, with Tushar Deshpande sending him back in the second over. 

However, Padikkal showed no such urgency. He played the ball on its merit to keep the scoreboard ticking. While Moeen Ali gave the 22-year-old batter a reprieve - dropping him on 14 - the Karnataka player, who returned to the playing XI in Chennai, punished the Super Kings with a quickfire 38. Padikkal, along with Buttler, stitched a 77-run stand that steadied the Royals’ ship after the early wicket.

Jos ‘The Boss’

While Jadeja showed his class to dismiss both Padikkal and skipper Sanju Samson in the same over, Buttler was calmness personified as he held the Royals’ innings together despite the falling wickets. The Englishman bided his time before displaying his array of shots as he went past 3000 runs in IPL - the third-fastest to do so. He bossed the spinners - both Maheesh Theekshana and Ali facing the brunt of some brute power hitting - while being mindful against the quicks. 

And helping him at the other end was Ashwin at No.5. Playing on his home ground, he made good use of his understanding of the Chepauk pitch to come up with an entertaining 22-ball 30. Meanwhile, Shimron Hetmyer - playing his 50th IPL match - scored a brisk 30* to take his team's total over the par score.

Spinners rule the roost

Defending a challenging total, the Royals needed to get off the blocks quickly. And in the absence of our front-line pacer Trent Boult, who was sidelined to a minor niggle, it was Sandeep Sharma who rose to the occasion to send a dangerous Ruturaj Gaikwad packing in the third over.

But as the match ensued, the pitch slowed down and it was up to the spinners to spread their magic. And both Ashwin and Chahal obliged as the two poked and probed the Chennai batters, often forcing them into reckless shots in search of runs. Playing his first match for the franchise, Zampa too showed quality to keep things tight and force the Super Kings into committing errors.

The Royals’ fielding complemented their bowlers as boundaries soon dried up. Jaiswal and Hetmyer pulled off some fine catches as the Super Kings once again looked up to their captain Dhoni to rescue them. And though the Indian cricket great made the match interesting with some big shots to force a last-ball finish, the target was a bit too far for the Chennai side.

Milestone alert

  • Jos Buttler completed 3000 runs in the IPL
  • Shimron Hetmyer played his 50th IPL match