Rajasthan Royals were impressive in the field as they stuck to their plans © IANS
By Devarchit Varma
Apr 23, 2014
Rajasthan Royals (RR) produced an inspired bowling performance to limit the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) to 140 for six in their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 match at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday. Dwayne Smith scored a quickfire 50 off 28 balls, and his innings was the only bright spot for Chennai Super Kings as the other batsmen failed to get going against the disciplined Rajasthan bowling attack.
The Royals continued with their strategy of taking the pace off the ball and strangling the opposition batsmen, which paid off handsomely. The Super Kings, despite being provided an excellent start, failed to put up a fight and suffered a batting collapse in the middle overs, which hampered their chances of putting a strong total.
Smith showed some aggression early on as he smashed a boundary off the first ball in the innings, and in the third over off James Faulkner, he clobbered a six over long-on. His partner Brendon McCullum was however, cautious as he took time to settle in.
Smith carried on as he slammed a six and a four in the fifth over of the match off Tim Southee. Chennai were 32 for no loss after the first five overs. The sixth over of the match was an eventful one as Chennai lost their opener Brendon McCullum, but Smith hit four consecutive boundaries off Faulkner. On the second ball, the New Zealand batsman mistimed a stroke that went high in the air towards the leg side, and three Rajasthan fielders rushed towards it. But it was Steven Smith who not only won the race, but also took splendid catch to send back the batsman packing.
However, Smith continued as the strike was rotated, and he smashed four boundaries off as many balls to keep the scoreboard ticking. Smith brought up his half-century off just 27 balls, with the help of three sixes and six boundaries.
Stuart Binny was introduced in the attack in the eighth over, and he immediately struck as Smith mistimed his stroke and Shane Watson took an easy catch. Smith departed after smashing 50 off 28 balls.
Chennai slipped further as on the second ball of the ninth over, Suresh Raina was caught by Dhawal Kulkarni off Rajat Bhatia for four. There was more trouble in store for the Super Kings, as a return stroke from MS Dhoni brushed Rajat Bhatia’s fingers, and Faf du Plessis was run out on the first ball of the 10th over.
Another big blow was dealt in the 11th over, as MS Dhoni, in a bid to up the scoring rate, found Faulkner standing at deep square leg as another Chennai batsmen fell cheaply. Dhoni could manage only five runs during his stay at the crease.
The fall of wickets at regular intervals meant that Rajasthan gained command in the middle, and it was only in the 15th over of the game that the Chennai Super Kings could manage to go past the 100-run mark. Mithun Manhas and Ravindra Jadeja added 27 crucial runs for the sixth wicket, which took their team total past the three-figure mark in the clash.
Towards the end, Jadeja (36 not out) and Ravichandran Ashwin (9 not out) stitched a crucial 39-run stand which took the Super Kings to 140. Their partnership was the best for CSK in the innings. For the Rajasthan Royals, barring Faulker, every bowler produced an impressive show.
Chennai Super Kings 140 for 6 in 20 overs (Dwayne Smith 50, Ravindra Jadeja 36*; Rajat Bhatia 2 for 13) vs Rajasthan Royals.
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(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)