(IPLT20.com) - Rajasthan Royals made it two wins in a row as they beat Chennai Super Kings by 3 runs in a thrilling Match 17 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, on Wednesday.
Jos Buttler (52 off 36) and the spinners starred as RR survived a late onslaught from MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja to edge CSK in a thrilling contest. Buttler was ably supported by Devdutt Padikkal (38 off 26), R Ashwin (30 off 22) and Shimron Hetmyer (30 off 18) as RR posted a competitive 175/8. The RR spinners then got into the act, choked the CSK batters, picked up regular wickets in the middle overs before Sandeep Sharma held his nerve to defend 21 off the last over against the rampaging Dhoni and Jadeja.
Chasing 176, Chennai Super Kings were pegged back early via some disciplined bowling from RR. They lost the in-form Ruturaj Gaikwad early as he top-edged one off Sandeep Sharma and Yashasvi Jaiswal pouched a good catch. RR gave away just one four in the first three overs. Rahane and Devon Conway then got going with a four each off Jason Holder in the fourth over. Conway hit a couple of fours off Zampa and was a bit lucky with the second one as Sandeep Sharma couldn't hold on to a difficult chance at backward square leg off a powerful sweep shot which burst through his hands and raced away to the fence.
Rahane hit the first six of the innings as he lofted one over wide long off, off R Ashwin as RR reached 45/1 at the end of the Powerplay.
Conway hit a couple more fours as the duo brought up the fifty-run stand off 33 balls. Some smart placement saw them accumulate 15 runs off the over with four twos and a cracking four through extra cover by Ajinkya Rahane. Samson then brought back Ashwin and the move worked as he trapped Rahane (31 off 19) LBW off a Carrom ball to break the 68-run stand as CSK reached 80/2 at the end of 10 overs.
RR built the pressure and Ashwin reaped the rewards of some tight bowling as he sent back Shivam Dube, trapped leg before wicket. Chahal could have had Moeen Ali in the next over as he got a bottom edge trying to hoick one but keeper Samson couldn't hold on to it.
Moeen though couldn't last long as he holed out to deep backward square leg via a superb catch by Sandeep Sharma off the bowling of Zampa. CSK then introduced Ambati Rayudu as their Impact Player in place of Magala. But he too couldn't make an impact as he mistimed one to deep mid-wicket where Hetmyer took a very good catch, off the bowling of Chahal.
Conway, who held fort at one end, then brought up his fifty off 37 balls. But he too couldn't carry on as he miscued the next ball to extra cover off Chahal and Yashasvi took another good catch. The wickets kept falling and the pressure kept building. RR bowled brilliantly in the 10-17 over phase as they conceded just 42 runs and scalped four wickets. Ashwin finished with a very good spell of 4-0-25-0 while Chahal finished with an impressive spell of 4-0-25-2. With 54 needed off 18 balls, Dhoni released the pressure valve with a four and a six off Zampa to bring the equation down to 40 off 12.
Jadeja then hit two sixes and a four off Holder in the penultimate over to take 19 off the over and bring the equation down to 21 needed off six balls.
Sandeep was handed the ball to bowl the last over. He started off with a couple of WIDES. He then bowled a very good yorker for a dot ball but erred in length next ball, bowling a full toss, Dhoni swung it behind square leg for a four to bring the equation to 13 needed off 4. Dhoni swung the next ball over deep mid-wicket for a six off a low full toss to bring it down to 7 off 3. He then swung at one again but mistimed it to deep mid-wicket for just a single as Sandeep changed sides and bowled from round the wicket. Sandeep then darted in a very good yorker outside off and gave away just a single to jadeja. With 5 required off the last ball, Sandeep bowled another brilliant yorker from round the wicket which Dhoni heaved away straight to deep mid-wicket for just a single as RR won the match by three runs.
Dhoni remained unbeaten on 32 off 17 balls while Jadeja remained not out on 25 off 15 balls.
Earlier, Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni, who was leading the franchise for the 200th time, won the toss and elected to bowl. They made three changes to the starting XI as Moeen Ali, Maheesh Theekshana and Akash Singh replaced Dwayne Pretorius, Mitchell Santner and Deepak Chahar. They named Ambati Rayudu, Mitchell Santner, Subhranshu Senapati, Shaik Rasheed and Rajvardhan Hangargekar as their substitutes.
RR made two changes to the starting XI as Devdutt Padikkal and Kuldeep Sen replaced Riyan Parag and Trent Boult(niggle). They named Riyan Parag, KM Asif, Donovan Ferreira, Adam Zampa and Joe Root as their substitutes.
CSK got off to a good start as they sent back the in-form Yashasvi Jaiswal Early. Jaiswal had got into the groove straightaway with a couple of fours in the first over from Akash Singh. He cut one wide of third man where a misfield from Theekshana presented him a four, and then flicked one through mid-wicket and it raced away. He then lofted one over mid off, off Tushar Deshpande for a couple. But the CSK pacer struck off the next ball, having Jaiswal caught at mid off as he looked to heave it away off a hard length. gave away just four runs from the over.
Devdutt Padikkal got up and running with a couple of fours off Theekshana in the next over. One was an exquisite drive through extra cover but the other was an outside edge wide of the slip fielder. Padikkal got a reprieve as Moeen Ali dropped a tough chance at first slip as it came to him very quickly. Buttler then found his range as he hit a six and a four off Theekshana which was punctuated by another four by Padikkal as the pair hit 17 runs in the over. Padikkal brought up RR's fifty with two consecutive well-timed fours off Deshpande as the away side reached 57/1 at the end of the Powerplay.
The pair kept the scoreboard ticking and the extras also helped as Jadeja bowled five WIDES off his first ball of his spell and then bowled another wide in the over to concede 11. Buttler went after Moeen Ali, hitting him for consecutive sixes over deep mid-wicket.
With the partnership blooming, CSK needed a wicket. Jadeja put his hand up, as he has since the start of this tournament, as he had Padikkal caught a deep square leg to break the 77-run stand. And a ball later, he cleaned up Sanju Samson with a beauty, a faster one that beat his outside edge. He could have had a third in the over as he induced an outside edge off R Ashwin off the very next ball but Moeen dropped the catch at slip.
CSK pulled things back and conceded just 24 from the next five overs (9-13) and picked up two wickets as well. Jadeja finished off with a brilliant spell of 4-0-21-2.
R Ashwin finally upped the scoring as he hit a four against Theekshana and then heaved a couple of sixes over deep mid-wicket off Akash Singh. The left-arm seamer though bounced back to dismiss R Ashwin in the same over as he miscued one to extra cover trying to go after another one.
Buttler then brought up his fifty off 33 balls but couldn't go the distance as he looked to heave one but missed it completely and was cleaned up by a Moeen Ali off-spinner for 52(36). CSK bowled two disciplined overs, giving away just 9 runs and picking up the crucial wicket of Buttler.
Hetmyer then provided the late surge as he hit two sixes and a couple of fours in a brisk innings of 30* (18) but Deshpande bowled a good last over, conceding just 8 runs and picking up the wicket of Jason Holder as RR posted 175/8 from 20 overs.
RR introduced Adam Zampa as their Impact Player off the final ball of the innings as he came out to bat after the dismissal of Holder, replacing Jos Buttler.
Rajasthan Royals: 175 for 8 (20) (Buttler 52, Padikkal 38, Jadeja 2-21, Deshpande 2-37, Akash 2-40) beat
Chennai Super Kings: 172 for 6 (20) (Conway 50, Dhoni 32*, Ashwin 2-25, Chahal 2-27) by three runs