13th May 2014

Super Kings pull off an easy victory over Royals at Ranchi

Both teams were happy with the Toss: Rajasthan Royals captain Shane Watson won the toss and chose to bat in a second-versus-third clash in Ranchi. MS Dhoni, the Chennai Super Kings captain, said he would have also batted had he won the toss.

It was a gamble when Royals decided to go with 3 changes from the previous victorious team. Bringing in Kevon Cooper for Kane Richardson, Dishant Yagnik for Sanju Samson and Ankit Sharma made his debut for RR in place of Rahul Tewatia.

And it worked very well for Ankit Sharma! Scoring 30 runs with the bat and picking up 2 important wickets with the ball, made it a dream debut for him. If only, it was for a winning cause!

To everyone's surprise, RR opening batsmen were not Rahane & Nair, but skipper Watson and debutant Ankit Sharma! RR added 42 runs in the first 6 overs. Openers Ankit Sharma (30) & Shane Watson (51) scored well hitting 7 FOURS and 5 SIXES. But it was brought to a halt by Ashwin when he got A Sharma right on the edge of the boundary; brilliant catch by D Smith. That did not stop the scorecard as Watson was on fire while Rahane handled the other end.

In a dubious situation, Rahane fell prey to run-out and was sent back to the dugout at 4 runs in the 11th over. Watson got bowled in the 13th over by M Sharma after hitting a huge SIX in the previous ball. Batting faltered after this wicket. Big shots went missing and the team could not recover from it. To add to the woes of RR, the last match heroes - Faulkner & Smith - were cleaned bowled by Jadeja and M Sharma respectively. None of the other players were able to score in double digits except Dishant Yagnik (22).

CSK bowlers were right on track as they picked wickets at regular intervals with great assistance by the Chennai boys with brilliant fielding. They saved many boundaries and did not miss any catch. M Sharma in particular, was brilliant with the ball. He picked up 3-31 wickets which included wickets of Watson and Smith. R Jadeja was economical giving away just 18 runs in his 4 over spell picking up 2 wickets in the end. CSK's bowlers kept the RR below 9 for the entire inning and were able to stop RR at the mere score of 148 runs picking up 8 wickets in total.

Looking at the opponent strengths, the score of RR was way below par & CSK chased it with ease on their home ground Ranchi. RR did manage to get McCullum in the third over. However, there was no stopping for Dynamic Smith as he went on to hit 44 runs from 35 balls. Suresh Raina failed to score big as Ankit Sharma got his wicket at the short fine. With contribution from Faf and Ashwin, CSK reached 100/3 in 14 overs. However, it was this skipper to finish is in style, as usual!

In two of Chennai Super Kings' last three games, they had been left with 11 to get from the last over with MS Dhoni at the crease. Today, against Rajasthan Royals, it came down to 12 from the last over. Dhoni was there, of course, batting on 15. In situations like that, all he needed is one ball in his slot.

It came off the second ball of the over, the first time he was on strike, when James Faulkner angled one across him but pitched it a touch too full. Down came that big bat-swing, and up went the ball, soaring for a flat six over deep midwicket. A wide full-toss brought him two runs to deep cover the next ball, and with three needed off two, a push to the same fielder became the winning hit when Faulkner failed to collect Kevon Cooper's throw and gave away an overthrow.

Shane Watson received "Maximum Sixes" award while Ravindra Jadeja picked up 'Man of the Match' award for his economical bowling picking up 2-18 wickets & scoring 11 important runs towards the end.

Royals will play Delhi Daredevils on 15th May at Motera stadium, Ahemedabad.

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