Chennai Super Kings clinch thriller against Rajasthan Royals

Faf du Plessis provided Chennai Super Kings a solid start scoring 73 runs in a close game against Rajasthan Royals AFP

By R Eswar

Chennai: Apr 21, 2012

Faf du Plessis stroked his way to a 52-ball 73 but Chennai Super Kings (CSK) had to wait till the very last ball before eking out a seven-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals (RR) in a thrilling Indian Premier League (IPL) match at Chennai on Saturday, pushing them up to the third position in the IPL points table.

Needing two runs off the last ball of the match, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni clipped Stuart Binny off his pads to help the Super Kings overhaul the target of 147 set by Rajasthan.

Du Plessis was the main scorer as he smashed six fours and two sixes to set the tone for the defending champions at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.

This was the Super Kings’ fourth win from seven matches while Rajasthan, who had four wins prior to this match, suffered their third defeat in this edition of the cash-rich Twenty20 league.

Chasing a rather modest total, the Super Kings were off to a sedate start, by IPL’s standards, as openers du Plessis and Subramaniam Badrinath (15) added 55 runs in eight overs.

Slow left-arm spinner Brad Hogg gave the visitors their first breakthrough when he had Badrinath stumped by Shreevats Goswami with a ball that had a bit of flight.

The dismissal, though, hardly had any effect on du Plessis as he continued with his attacking game and, along with Suresh Raina, added 61 runs for the second wicket, much to delight of the home crowd.

Raina scored 26 runs in 24 balls and hit three fours.

While he started hitting fours from the second over, du Plessis struck his first six in the seventh over, when Ashok Menaria’s delivery was lofted over the extra-cover region.

The South African struck his second six, against medium pacer Siddharth Trivedi, before Kevon Cooper brought to an end his stay by having the batsman caught by Goswami.

Cooper then sent back Raina, thanks to Ajinkya Rahane’s excellent catch in the deep, but skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja denied the visitors any further success while taking Chennai home.

Earlier, the Super Kings rode on a disciplined bowling display to restrict Rajasthan to a modest total despite a half century by Owais Shah on a swealtering day.

Electing to bat on what looked like a slow pitch, the Rajasthan Royals batsmen started off in brilliant fashion, scoring 15 runs off Dwayne Bravo’s first over.

They were 34 for no loss by the fourth over before Ravichandran Ashwin put the brakes on the scoring rate.

Ashwin gave his team a vital breakthrough when he dismissed an in-form Rahane (15) off the third ball of his spell.

Rahane looked in good nick, opening his account with a straight bat cover drive off Nuwan Kulasekara. The batsman then dismissed Bravo thorough mid-off and pulled the second delivery of his over through the vacant square-leg region to stamp his authority on the Chennai bowlers.

He, however, got out while trying to go over mid-off only managing to give a simple catch to Kulasekara.

Rahane’s dismissal brought Shah in the middle — the English recruit took seven balls to open his account before hitting Shadab Jakati over the mid-on fence to bring the second six of the innings.

Rahul Dravid, at the other end, was going nicely, hitting three boundaries and a six before his 26-run inning was cut short by Jakati. (PTI)

Brief Score: RR 146 for 4 in 20 overs (Owais Shah 52, Ashok Menaria 36; R Ashwin 1 for 19, Nuwan Kulasekara 1 for 17) lost to CSK 147 for 3 in 20 overs (Faf du Plessis 73, Suresh Raina 26; Kevon Cooper 2 for 23, Brad Hogg 1 for 18) by 7 wickets

Man-of-the-Match: Faf du Plessis

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