Chennai defeated Rajasthan by 64 runs in Pune
The win was largely built around a sensational century by Shane Watson which helped CSK post a mammoth total of 204 in their allotted 20 overs.
Rajasthan was never in the game, as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Barring a useful knock of 45 by Ben Stokes, there was no contribution from the rest of the side.
Openers Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu walked out in the middle to begin the proceedings. Shane Watson started smashing the boundaries from the outset and looked in the murderous mood. It was mainly due to his innings that the home team got off to a sensational start.
After a 50-run partnership between Watson and Ambati Rayudu, it was Ben Laughlin who provided the maiden breakthrough in the form of Rayudu’s wicket.
However, Watson was finding the gaps on a consistent basis which helped CSK keep up the brilliant run-rate. Suresh Raina who made a comeback in this match also looked in good touch.
Watson, on the other hand, kept smashing boundaries at will and reached the century in the penultimate over of the match.
The Rajasthan Royals made a terrific comeback in the death overs. Chennai was looking well in pursuit of a score over 230 runs. However, Shreyas Gopal bowled brilliantly and finished with exceptional figures of 3/20 in his allotted four overs.
Dwayne Bravo scored 24 off 16 deliveries towards the end which eventually helped CSK score 2014 in their allotted 20 overs. Ben Laughlin also bagged a couple of wickets. While chasing Rajasthan Royals were in for early trouble. Openers Ajinkya Rahane and newcomer, Heinrich Klassen walked out in the middle.
After a 20 runs partnership, it was Shardul Thakur who provided the maiden breakthrough in the form of Klassen.
Sanju Samson was also dismissed early, as Rajasthan Royals were reduced to 32/3. Ben Stokes scored a useful knock of 45 off 37 deliveries. However, it didn’t come in a quick time which never really allowed Rajasthan to claw their way back into the match. Wickets kept tumbling at regular intervals, and Chennai was all over Rajasthan.
Now here is what winning skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni said at the post-match presentation
“Big game for us, we lost the last one. It’s like an unknown territory for us. CSK is used to being slightly behind, before getting into the groove. This year has been different. Everyone has contributed. Have to keep the fitness levels up, most of us are over 30. It’s a long-ish tournament, have to be fit. Experience really counts. No point getting injured when you’re trying to stop a single or a double. The kind of players we’ve got, they’ll always make that up. We’ve got a few good fielders who are very good. They are doing most of the work when it comes to the boundary fielding. Just want to keep the players fit. Change of venue – to be frank – CSK wasn’t there for a couple of years. I played for Pune at that point of time. The fans over here, they supported the team and stood by me. It’s time to return the favour. They have the choice whether to support CSK or the other team. By the end of the seventh game, we’ll see a lot more yellow in the crowd. It’s Chennai Super Kings, not Pune Super Kings.
As far as the wicket is concerned, I’m not sure that it was coming on nicely, especially when the ball got old. There was a spongy bounce. Back of length was hard to hit. Batsmen did the job; they put on more than what was required on the board. Made the bowlers’ life easy. Spinners had to vary their line and lengths along with the pace. It’s a league stage; it’s not like the quarters or semis, where if you lose you’re out, so there’s not that much pressure. For CSK whenever we played in Chennai, we used to bat first a lot of times in Chennai. Dew is a factor here. Today also there was a bit of dew later on. I saw the fielders wiping the ball and everything. Slowly what has happened is that people are getting comfortable either way. If the wicket is good, not many teams will mind batting first or second.