Vintage MS Dhoni on show as Chennai post 175/5 vs Rajasthan
MS Dhoni took Chennai to a formidable total on a slow MA Chidambaran track. PHOTO BCCI

With Rajasthan s Ajinkya Rahane winning the toss and opting to field first against Chennai in Match 12 of the Indian T20 League on Sunday, the three-time league champions were in for a real challenge on home conditions – that they had been able to exploit by chasing down modest totals in their previous two games.

By the luck of the coin, Rajasthan had the advantage and rode on that reducing Chennai to 27/3 by the fifth over. However, cometh the hour, cometh the men – as Indian T20 League legends – skipper MS Dhoni (75* off 46 balls) and Suresh Raina – dug in on a slow track to revive their team with a stand of 51 runs off 53 balls to give their bowlers more than enough to bowl; Chennai finished at 175/5.

Rajasthan, on their part were very good at the start with Jofra Archer accounting for Ambati Rayudu (1) with slow bouncer – caught by wicketkeeper Jos Buttler – in a maiden wicket over. Shane Watson (13) then handed a practice catch at short third man Archer off the bowling of Ben Stokes. Rajasthan pacers varied their lengths with aplomb and never allowed to top-order to settle. With the wicket of Kedar Jadhav (8), taken by Dhawal Kulkarni, Chennai were in trouble.

But, Dhoni and Raina rotated the strike well and played out probing spells from the pacer, before getting their eye in. Chennai were dented when Raina was undone by a slower one from Jaydev Unadkat – Rajasthan s death over specialist to depart for 36 off 32 balls.

However, Dwayne Bravo kept up the momentum and started with two fours off Stokes. Dhoni, the veteran, then played the field to up the ante to get to his 21st fifty of the league. Bravo too hit some lusty blow as Chennai took 24 runs off Kulkarni s final over – the 18th of the innings. The West Indian was out for 27 off 16 balls, as the fifth wicket association yielded 56 runs in 29 balls. Dhoni took 28 runs off Unadkat’s final over,including four sixes. In the last five overs, Chennai took 76 runs

Brief Scores: Chennai 175/5 (MS Dhoni 75*, Suresh Raina 32; Jofra Archer 2/17) vs Rajasthan