Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
West Indies batsman Dwayne Smith scored a wonderful half-century and India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja took four wickets to help the Chennai Super Kings skirt past the Rajasthan Royals by seven runs in Dubai.
Rajasthan captain Shane Watson would have been pleased with his decision to bowl first early on as Chennai opener Brendon McCullum was brilliantly caught by Steven Smith off the bowling of James Faulkner for six runs.
Smith was the standout performer with the bat for Chennai as he scored 50 runs off 28 balls, which included six boundaries and three sixes, before he was caught by Watson at mid-off off the bowling of Stuart Binny.
Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Following Smith’s departure, the Super Kings’ middle order collapsed as they went from 59/2 to 74/5.
Mithun Manhas fared no better as he was caught by Ajinkya Rahane off the bowling of Rajat Bhatia.
Chennai were able to finish on 140/6 at the end of their 20 overs thanks to Jadeja’s quickfire knock of 36, which came off 33 balls and included two boundaries.
Bhatia was the pick of the bowlers with two wickets, while Faulkner, Binny and Pravin Tambe chipped in with one wicket apiece.
Chasing 141 to win, Rajasthan got off to a poor start as they lost their top four batsmen for 44 runs.
Binny failed to help his team out as he was caught by Faf du Plessis at long-off off the bowling of Mohit Sharma for eight runs.
Following Binny’s dismissal, Steven Smith, Faulkner and Tim Southee were dismissed in quick succession.
Bhatia managed to make 23 runs before he was caught by Ravichandran Ashwin in the cover region off the bowling of Ben Hilfenhaus.
Rajasthan fell short of their target by seven runs when Tambe was run out by du Plessis for two runs.
Dhawal Kulkarni was left stranded on 28 off 19 balls, which included two sixes.
Jadeja was the most successful bowler with four wickets, while Hilfenhaus, Ashwin, Sharma and Ishwar Pandey snapped up one wicket each.
Watson was extremely disappointed with his team’s performance, and said: “Very disappointing. One decent partnership was needed and we weren’t able to get that. It was a very good bowling effort against their high quality batting as well. It doesn’t often happen that someone goes crazy like Smith did, especially after an early wicket. We’re trying to execute wide yorkers, but getting a few wides there is okay. It’s a learning curve for us, but we have to be better next time to chase down something like that. Myself as captain and at No.4, I shouldn’t have got out like that. [On him opening the batting] It’s something we were talking about and what might fit the team’s needs best.”
Chennai skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was relieved to have won the match, and said: “The last few overs were quite pleasing. Apart from that it was a very good game. the wicket got a little slower in the second innings which made it hard for them. Ishwar bowled the perfect length on this wicket and was well supported. When Smith was batting he was batting on a different wicket. You must have seen the batsmen hitting the top half of the bat rather than the middle. The bounce made it tough. It’s looking good, but at the same time Bravo has been a terrific all-rounder for us. Overall the batsmen have put on a good score and the bowlers have backed it up. Still with Bravo around it gives us a further option to strengthen the side. I have to thank them [crowd] for their support, they have to come through the traffic and the heat and stay here and watch.”
Jadeja was named Man of the Match, and said: “Bowling [was more enjoyable], when I went out to bat the situation was tight. So I had to play till the last ball and luckily I did. Wicket was pretty slow and the ball was turning so I was bowling on the right areas and we knew 140 was a defendable total.”