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Rajasthan Royals celebrated their 200th Indian Premier League game with a handsome 32-run win over Chennai Super Kings at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Thursday.

Batting first on a track better than what they encountered in their previous tie at the venue, the Royals chose to bat. And Yashasvi Jaiswal backed his captain’s call to lead the team to 202/5 in 20 overs. His knock of 77 gave the hosts a strong and robust start which Dhruv Jurel (34) capitalised on with some high-risk batting at the death. This saw the Royals record the highest score by a team at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium.

In reply, though Super Kings threw the kitchen sink at the game, it wasn’t enough with the Men In Pink putting in a disciplined effort. Trent Boult missed the match to a minor niggle. But that didn’t hurt much as Sandeep Sharma and Kuldip Yadav delivered a fine start. They were economical as the four-time champions struggled to let loose. Later, R Ashwin (2-35) and Adam Zampa (3-22) made things worse for the visitors as the Royals raced to a comfortable win.

Jaiswal dazzles

Coming into the match after two back-to-back defeats, the Royals’ head coach Kumar Sangakkara wanted the team to push to be ‘2-3 per cent better’ which could give them an edge over the others in IPL 2023. And the intent was clear. Going down on one knee, Jasiwal smacked Akash Singh’s first ball for a boundary and then found the fence twice more as the Royals got off to a flying start with 14 coming from the first over. 

The 21-year-old was in no mood to let go and took on the Super Kings, bowler by bowler. While Akash was punished the most – Jasiwal scoring 31 from his two overs – none were spared as the likes of Tushar Deshpande, Ravindra Jadeja and Moeen Ali bore the brunt. Jasiwal’s innings had eight boundaries and four maximums. It was a treat for every cricket fan as the Mumbai player showed his class with some top-quality shots that had MS Dhoni chopping and changing his plan often.

Jos Buttler (27) played second fiddle to his young partner as the two put together an 86-run partnership for the opening wicket while later skipper Sanju Samson too allowed Jaiswal to express himself as they stitched a 39-run show once Buttler was dismissed. 

The Jurel-Padikkal show adds the finishing touch

But once Jaiswal departed, the onus was on the Royals’ middle order to build on the sublime start. Though they tiptoed a bit, losing a few wickets in the process, Jurel and Devdutt Padikkal ensured that the Royals celebrated their 200th IPL match in a big manner. 

While Padikkal had to dig out a few toe crushers from the Lankan prodigy Matheesha Pathirana during his knock of 27 not out, Jurel had no trouble in clearing the fence at will as the two scored at a brisk pace. Joining forces in the 17th over, the Royals’ pair put together a 48-run stand to help the team cross the 200-run mark for the second time this season.

Spinners bring it home

With Boult missing, it was up to Sandeep Sharma and Kuldeep Yadav to manage the show in the Powerplay overs. The Indians rose to the occasion as the Super Kings were choked for runs and could barely get into gear to score freely. The Chennai side scored 42 runs in the six Powerplay overs and once the spinners were introduced, batting became a difficult task.

Devon Conway, the Super Kings’ man in form, was back in the dugout without troubling the scorers much while Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ajinkya Rahane showed some signs of a fight. But with the wind making things hard, it was just a matter of time before the Royals spinner spun a web around their opposition. Though Shivam Dube (52) counter-attacked in some style. But with no batter sticking on for long, the 29-year-old was chasing a lost cause.

Milestone alert:

- Rajasthan Royals played their 200th IPL game.
- Rajasthan Royals scored the highest team total at Sawai Mansingh Stadium – 202/5
- Yashasvi Jaiswal scored his highest individual score – 77 (43)
- Yashasvi Jaiswal scored his sixth IPL fifty.