MS Dhoni switched on beast mode and Imran Tahir used his experience in difficult conditions as Chennai Super Kings beat Rajasthan Royals by 8 runs to remain unbeaten after three matches in the 2019 Indian Premier League. With three rounds of matches over, CSK are the only team yet to lose.
Rajasthan Royals like Royal Challengers Bangalore, have now lost all their three matches this season.
IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) March 31, 2019
Chasing 176, Royals lost Ajinkya Rahane, Sanju Samson and Jos Buttler inside the first 4 overs before Steve Smith and Rahul Tripathi steadied the innings with a 61-run partnership for the 4th wicket.
However, Imran Tahir, the wily leg-spinner turned it around for Chennai Super Kings with a brilliant spell. While Mitchell Santnter and Ravindra Jadeja struggled with the dew, Tahir weaved magic.
He removed the dangerous Tripathi in his first over and dismissed Smith in his third over.
Ben Stokes and K Gowtham were not going to go down with a fight. Stokes went after Jadeja in his second over before Gowtham took Tahir on and hit him for a six in the 16th over.
Royals were still not out of the race with another big hitter – Joffra Archer set to walk in at No.8.
Tahir finished with 2 for 23 off his 4 overs and was easily the pick of all the bowlers in the match.
Gowtham was dismissed by Shardul Thakur in the 16th over as the asking rate shot up for the Royals.
But Stokes and Archer were fearless as they attacked Bravo and took 19 run off his third over. RR neeed 25 off the last over and Thakur responded with a six off Thakur in the penultimate over of the innings. With 12 needed off the final over, Bravo came on to bowl and had Stokes brilliantly caught by Suresh Raina off the first ball.
Shreyas Gopal faced the nex two balls and only managed to bring Archer back on strike with a leg bye. Archer took a single and RR needed a six and a four off the final 2 balls but Gopal skied the second last ball of the match to Tahir and it was game over with one ball still to be bowled.
Earlier in the evening, MS Dhoni showed why he is a legend in limited-overs cricket with an innings that the Chepauk will remember for years. CSK were in early trouble after Ambati Rayudu, Shane Watson and Kedar Jadhav were dismissed inside the first five overs.
MS Dhoni joined forces with Suresh Raina added 61 for the 4th wicket to bring the Super Kings innings back on track. Once Raina fell to Jaydev Unadkat, Dwayne Bravo came out and played a cameo.
His 16-ball 27 helped the run-rate but CSK would have still liked a few more given the dew.
That is when Dhoni switched gears. Chennai Super Kings clobbered 60 runs off the last 3 overs – Dhoni hit 3 sixes in the final over and raced away to his second highest IPL score and his best IPL score in Chennai.
At the end, 37-year-old MS Dhoni and 40-year-old Imran Tahir were the difference as Chennai Super Kings moved back to the top of the table.