King Dhoni steers Chennai home

CALCULATING Chennai Super Kings captain M S Dhoni en route his unbeaten 75 against Rajasthan Royals during their IPL match in in Chennai on Sunday. AFP

Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s well-calculated half-century in challenging conditions turned out to be a game-changer as Chennai Super Kings won their third match of the season with an eight-run defeat of Rajasthan Royals, here on Sunday.

The pitch used in the previous match was a rank-turner here but on Sunday it turned to be a different challenge for the batsmen since it was not conducive for stroke-play as the ball was stopping a bit.

Dhoni paced his innings beautifully, scoring unbeaten 75 off 46 balls to lead his side to a competitive 175 for five, seizing momentum from Royals’ bowlers who were off to an inspiring start.

The Royals needed someone to play a Dhoni-like innings but none took that responsibility and they could manage 167 for 8, suffering their third defeat in as many matches.

Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer took the chase deep with their fiery 44-run stand but Dwayne Bravo bowled a brilliant last over, defending 12 runs that Royals needed to score to claim the win.

Dhoni used his vast experience to read the conditions and mostly worked the ball around to keep the scoreboard ticking. Whenever he got the chance, he opened his arms and hit four fours and as many sixes.

Dhoni and Suresh Raina (36) added 61 runs for the fourth wicket, pushing the ball around and later the former India skipper raised a 56-run stand with West Indies’ Dwayne Barvo (27).

Royals were disciplined throughout but pacer Jaydev Unadkat (1/54) conceded 28 runs in the final over with Dhoni finding three of his four sixes in that over.

SCORE BOARD

CHENNAI SUPER KINGS: Ambati Rayudu c Buttler b Archer 1 (8b), Shane Watson c Archer b Stokes 13 (13b, 1x4, 11x6), Suresh Raina b Unadkat 36 (32b, 4x4 1x6), Kedar Jadhav c Buttler b Kulkarni 8 (3b, 2x4), M S Dhoni (not out) 75 (46b, 4x4, 4x6), Dwayne Bravo c Kulkarni b Archer 27 (16b, 3x4, 1x6), Ravindra Jadeja ( not out) 8 (3b, 1x6). Extras (LB-1, W-5, NB-1) 7. Total (for 5 wkts, 20 overs) 175.

Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-14, 3-27, 4-88, 5-144.

Bowling: Dhawal Kulkarni 4-0-37-1 (nb-1, w-1), Jofra Archer 4-1-17-2, Ben Stokes 3-0-30-1, Shreyas Gopal 3-0-23-0, K Gowtham 2-0-13-0 (w-1), Jaydev Unadkat 4-0-54-1 (w-3).

RAJASTHAN ROYALS:Ajinkya Rahane c Jadeja b Chahar 0 (2b), Jos Buttler c Bravo b Thakur 6 (7b, 1x4), Sanju Samson c Raina b Chahar 8 (10b, 1x4), Rahul Tripathi c & b Tahir 39 (24b, 5x4, 1x6), Steven Smith c Shorey b Tahir 28 (30b, 2x4), Ben Stokes c Raina b Bravo 46 (26b, 1x4, 3x6), K Gowtham c Raina b Thakur 9 (8b, 1x6), Jofra Archer (not out) 24 (11b, 1x4, 2x6), Shreyas Gopal c Tahir b Bravo 0 (3b), Jaydev Unadkat (not out) 0 (ob). Extras (LB-2, W-4, NB-1) 7. Total (for 8 wkts, 20 overs) 167. Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-14, 3-14, 4-75, 5-94, 6-120, 7-164, 8-166.

Bowling: Deepak Chahar 4-1-19-2 (w-1), Shardul Thakur 4-0-42-2 (w-1), Mitchell Santner 2-0-26-0 (nb-1), Ravindra Jadeja 2-0-23-0, Imran Tahir 4-0-23-2, Dwayne Bravo 4-0-32-2 (w-2).

Result: CSK won by 8 runs

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