The Rajasthan Royals’ play-off hopes took a major blow as they suffered their heaviest home defeat of the season, going down by 63 runs against the Chennai Super Kings.
It was a comprehensive and significant victory for Chennai who posted 196 for three in Jaipur – Murali Vijay hitting 53 – before bowling Rajasthan out for just 133.
Royals skipper Shane Warne – in his first game since announcing his IPL retirement – won the toss and chose to bowl first on an outside track at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium being used for the first time this season.
Warne expressed his surprise at the choice of strip, and the pitch conditions ultimately played into the visitors hands as the Super Kings top four all contributed to see their side to the highest IPL score in Jaipur this season, beating the previous mark of 160 by some distance.
CSK openers Mike Hussey and Vijay set Chennai off to a positive start with the Australian piercing the field with regular ease for eight boundaries on his way to 46 before he was removed by Johan Botha – the opening stand worth 77 runs.
Vijay was dropped with his score on just four – Ajinkya Rahane grassing a sitter at point – and he continued to make the home side pay with a fluent knock that took him past fifty for only the second time this season. Having reached 53 he was then punished for his lazy running as a Botha direct-hit brought his 40-ball stay to an end.
Suresh Raina maintained Chennai’s momentum with his valuable knock of 43 from 27-balls before he was bowled by an Amit Singh slowerball.
A belligerent knock from MD Dhoni then added the finishing touches to the innings, as the Super Kings skipper blasted three sixes and three fours in an unbeaten 41 from only 19 deliveries.
Botha was the only Royals bowler to emerge with decent figures as he collected one for 23 from his four overs.
The Royals were second favourites at the half-way mark and never really threatened despite the best efforts of Ajinkya Rahane. The right-hander took just 33 balls to get to fifty, but recieved little in the way of support. Dwayne Bravo – jetting in to join the reigning champions just days after the end of the West Indies’ ODI series against Pakistan – brought Rahane’s challenge to an end thanks to a stunning boundary catch from Raina and at 105 for five the game was over as a contest.
None of the other big-name Rajasthan players were able to come to the party as Rahul Dravid (20) fell first to Doug Bollinger, Shane Watson (11) succumbed to Ravichandran Ashwin while Ross Taylor’s (6) stay was brief.
Abhishek Raut played an eventful knock down the order to collect 19 before he was run out by Ashwin and the the Royals innings collapsed even further as they lost their last four wickets in the space of just six balls to be bowled out with three balls to spare.
Bollinger ended with impressive figures of three for 22, Ashwin weighed in with three for 24, while only three deliveries from Raina returned astonishing figures of nought for two.
The result sees Chennai into second place on the IPL table while Rajasthan stay in fifth, now two points behind fourth-placed Bangalore who have a game in hand. Cricket365