Mahendra Singh Dhoni reaffirmed his status as the best finisher in limited overs cricket with yet another fluent final flourish as the Chennai Super Kings as romped home by five wickets against Rajasthan Royals in a one-sided encounter of the of the IPL here today.
Chasing a modest target of 149, CSK reached the target with two balls to spare as skipper Dhoni hit a six off James Faulkner’s final over to make required 12 runs off the final over look like a walk in the park.
Dhoni’s unbeaten 26 came off 16 balls with a four and a six after in-form Dwayne Smith (44) and Faf du Plessis (38) set up the chase. Ravindra Jadeja’s 11 off 6 balls also were important in the final context of the match. Jadeja also helped the Royals being restrict to a below par score with brilliant figures of two for 18 in four overs.
CSK now are on top of the eight-team table having 16 points from 10 games while Kings XI Punjab with 14 from nine games is a notch below.
Despite the loss, Royals, on 12 points from 10 games also remain firmly in contention for a play-off berth holding onto their third place.
While Smith batted in his customary attacking fashion hitting five fours and two sixes off 35 balls, Brendon McCullum (6) and Suresh Raina (2) were out playong poor shots to left—arm spinner Ankit Sharma.
Smith hit a couple of straight sixes off Faulkner and was involved in a 35—run partnership with Du Plessis, who was having problems with running between the wickets.
While Smith mistimed a pull—shot off Kevon Cooper to be caught by glovesman Dishant Yagnik, Ravichandran Ashwin (14) was done in by a customary slower delivery from Rajat Bhatia.
However CSK’s batting depth again came to the fore as Dhoni’s presence ensured that it was the umpteenth time that the formidable outfit successfully chased down a target in the death overs.
Ankit Sharma c Smith b Ashwin 30
Shane Watson b Sharma 51
Ajinkya Rahane run out 4
Karun Nair b Badree 8
Stuart Binny c du Plessis b Jadeja 22
Steve Smith b Sharma 9
James Faulkner b Jadeja 1
Dinesh Yagnik not out 4
Rajat Bhatia c Smith b Sharma 7
Kevin Cooper not out 0
Extras (B-1, LB-3, WD-8) 12
Total (For 8 wickets in 20 overs) 148
Fall of wickets: 1-60, 2-86, 3-99, 4-114, 5-133, 6-136,
Bowling: S Badree 4-0-19-1, I Pandey 3-0-18-0, M Sharma
4-0-31-3, R Ashwin 4-0-39-1, R Jadeja 4-0-18-2, V Shankar
Chennai Super Kings:
D Smith c Yagnik b Cooper 44
B McCullum c Nair b A Sharma 6
S Raina c Bhatia b A Sharma 2
F du Plessis b Faulkner 38 R Ashwin b Bhatia 14
MS Dhoni not out 26
R Jadeja not out 11
Extras (LB—3, WD—5) 8
Total (For 5 wickets in 19.4 overs) 149
Fall of wickets: 1—20, 2—41, 3—76, 4—105, 5—121.
Bowling: Ankit Sharma 4—0—20—2, J Faulkner 3.4—0—37—1, P Tambe 4—0—34—0, K Cooper 4—0—25—1, R Bhatia 4—0—30—1