Skipper Shane Watson came up with his best score of the season — a fiery 51 — but Rajasthan Royals lost momentum midway through the innings to score a modest 148 for eight against Chennai Super Kings in an IPL match, here on Tuesday.
Watson’s decision to promote himself to the opening slot paid dividends as he emerged top scorer for his side with a 36-ball knock, which featured four sixes and three boundaries.
They were going steady and strong, reaching 84 for one at the half-way mark but lost wickets in a heap after that as the batsmen tried to step up the gas.
Except for a 60—run stand between Watson and his young opening partner Ankit Sharma (30), RR failed to put up partnerships and that pulled them down.
Paceman Mohit Sharma (3/31) and left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja (2/18) shared five wickets between them.
West Indies leg-spinner Samuel Badree began for CSK and bowled a superb three—over spell, conceding just 11 runs. He bowled a tight wicket—to—wicket line and Watson and Ankit Sharma played the bowler on merit.
The left-handed Ankit made a promising start, offering straight-bat shots to Mohit, hitting the paceman for two consecutive boundaries. The youngster then showed his aggressive side by plundering 17 runs off R Ashwin’s over, hitting the experienced spinner for two fours and a six.
Ashwin returned and had his revenge, having the youngster caught near the ropes.
Watson was cautious initially even though he was striking the ball well. The burly Australian exploded later as he punished debutant Vijay Shankar, reeling off 19 runs in the 10th over to take the team’s score to 84 for one.
Ajinkya Rahane (4) was needlessly run out in a terrible mix—up with his captain, who later completed his fifty with a big hit off Mohit but was bowled immediately off a beauty that swung from good length to shatter the stumps.
RR’s downfall started with Watson’s wicket as they kept losing one batsman after another. Their last match’s heroes Steve Smith (9) and James Faulknar (1) also returned to the dug-out cheaply.