IPL 2019: Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni smash Rajasthan Royals as CSK edge closer to playoffs

Chennai Super Kings came back from 24 for 4 to chase down 152 on the final delivery of the match against Rajasthan Royals to seal a 4-wicket win at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium in Jaipur. CSK have now won 6 matches out of 7 in the 2019 Premier League and are now closing in on a playoffs berth with 12 points. Rajasthan Royals continue to languish second from bottom of the points table.

Ambati Rayudu and MS Dhoni shared a 95-run partnership for the 5th wicket to dig CSK out of a hole. Shane Watson, Suresh Raina, Faf du Plessis and Kedar Jadhav were dismissed inside the power play but Rayudu and Dhoni smashed sensational fifties to deliver a sensational win for the Super Kings

Dhawal Kulkarni dismissed Shane Watson in the first over of the Chennai Super Kings innings while Jofra Archer’s brilliant run out of Suresh Raina reduced CSK to 5 for 2 in 1.5 overs. Faf du Plessis was beautifully caught by Rahul Tripathi at deep midwicket before a spectacular catch by Ben Stokes helped Archer get rid of Kedar Jadhav.

MS Dhoni joined Ambati Rayudu in the middle but it was an uphill task. Chennai Super Kings were 50 for 4 off 10 overs and it was time for the pair to get a move-on with 102 needed off the last 10 overs.

MS Dhoni slog-swept 17-year-old leg-spinner Riyan Parag for a six and Rayudu hit him for a four off as CSK took 14 runs off the 11th over. In the next over, Ambati Rayudu had a close shave when Ben Stokes’ direct throw missed the stumps at the non-striker’s end after he took off for a non-existent single and was sent back by Dhoni.

Ambati Rayudu and MS Dhoni rebuilt the CSK inning after the Royals had reduced them to 24 for 4 before the power play was over. The Super Kings were still in sight with 74 needed off the last 7 overs – Dhoni was looking good, Rayudu was solid and they still had Ravindra Jadeja due in next.

Ambati Rayudu brought up his 19th IPL fifty and his first in 7 matches this season with a boundary off Jaydev Unadkat as CSK closed in on their target of 152.

CSK needed 51 off the last 5 overs and it was still an open match at that stage but Shreyas Gopal gave away only 5 runs in the 16th over while Archer conceded 7 in the 17th as the asking rate climbed further for the Super Kings.

Ambati Rayudu had no option but to go after Ben Stokes in the 18th over – he did not time it well enough and was well caught by Shreyas Gopal for a 47-ball 57.

MS Dhoni brought up his 22nd IPL fifty in the penultimate over of the innings but there were some worrying signs for the Super Kings when he crouched over and looked visibly exhausted. The team physio came out and helped Dhoni stretch his legs and he smashed a boundary off the last ball of the 19th over. CSK needed 18 off the final over.

Ravindra Jadeja smashed Ben Stokes for a six on the first ball of the 20th over. The next one was a no-ball but Dhoni only managed 2 runs off the free-hit. Stokes then bowled Dhoni with a perfect yorker and CSK were left with 8 runs to get off 3 balls with 4 wickets in hand as Mitchell Santner joined Jadeja at the crease.

There was some confusion with a no-ball over height and MS Dhoni even stormed on to the field. After some high drama, CSK needed 4 off the last ball with Santner on strike. Stokes bowled a wide and Santner hit the last legal delivery to close a thrilling win for the Super Kings.

Earlier in the evening, MS Dhoni won the toss and asked Rajasthan Royals to bat first.

Ajinkya Rahane and Jos Buttler got the Royals off to a flier before Rahane fell to Deepak Chahar in the 3rd over. The Royals innings never gained any kind of momentum after that as Buttler, Sanju Samson, Rahul Tripathi and Steve Smith went back to the hut by the 11th over. At 78 for 5, RR needed a special innings from someone lower down the order.

Royals have plenty of firepower in the lower order and on Thursday night, CSK witnessed some of their sting. Ben Stokes hit 28 important runs before Shreyas Gopal smashed an unbeaten 19 off 7 balls.

Thanks to Jofra Archer and Shreyas Gopal, the Royals scored 26 runs off the final 2 overs of their innings.

Ravindra Jadeja (2 for 20) was the pick of the bowlers for Chennai Super Kings who left out Harbhajan Singh. Jadeja became the first left-arm spinner and the 6th Indian to pick 100 wickets in the Indian Premier League. However, he is also the slowest to reach the landmark, getting there in his 161st match.


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