A belligerent 70 from Shane Watson helped Rajasthan Royals destroy the
table-topping Chennai Super Kings with a five-wicket victory in their Indian
Premier League clash at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Sunday.
According to the supersport.com website, the Australian all-rounder clubbed six sixes and six fours in his remarkable
34-ball innings, sharing a 93-run partnership with Stuart Binny (41 off 23) as
the hosts chased down their 142-run victory target with 17 balls to spare.
Watson’s performance came after his team had initially slipped into a hole
at 45 for four thanks to Jason Holder (2-20) and Mohit Sharma (1-21), with the
two points lifting them joint-top of the log on 20 points alongside the
Earlier, Chennai failed to capitalise on a superb 83-run opening stand
between Murali Vijay (55 off 50) and Michael Hussey (40 off 40) and had to rely
on same late hitting by Dwayne Bravo (23 off 12) to reach a fighting total.
West Indian Kevon Cooper (2-32) was the pick of the bowlers, while James
Faulkner and Watson (both 0-23) were both economical after the Royals won the
toss and opted to field first.
Hussey and Vijay batted with little risk for most of their 11.3 overs
together, the powerplay passage yielding just 37, before the 50 was raised in
the eighth over.
Hussey finally fell to Binny in the 12th over when his leg stump was
uprooted after a huge swing towards square leg.
That was the start of a period of dominance from the hosts as Cooper struck
four balls later to take out the dangerous Suresh Raina (one), caught at
long-off by Sanju Samson, while captain MS Dhoni (two) followed in the same
over when he edged the Trinidadian to lone slip Watson.
Chennai managed to limp past 100 by the end of the 15th over, before Vijay
got to his second IPL 50 of the season from 49 balls with a flick wide of fine
leg for four.
But he was soon headed for the dugout thanks to a direct hit by wicketkeeper
Dishant Yagnik as the batsmen tried to steal a quick bye.
Bravo then struck four fours and shared a 28-run stand with Ravindra Jadeja
(12) at the death to help reach 141 for four.
Holder then rocked Rajasthan early on with a double wicket fourth over in
which he took out Ajinkya Rahane (nine) and Faulkner (one) - the former caught
by Vijay low down at mid-on and the latter bowled.
Sharma made it 19 for three when and inside edge was expertly caught by a
diving Dhoni as the hosts were left with a big task on their hands.
Watson was in next and helped Rahul Dravid add 26, before the skipper fell
to a sharp and rising Chris Morris delivery that was edged to Dhoni for 22
leaving the total on 49 at the halfway stage.
But the game turned on its head in a 23-run 11th over then Watson took
charge by plastering Ravi Ashwin for three leg-side sixes in four balls.
Two more maximums, one each for Watson and Binny extended the pressure on
Chennai, while also raising the 50 partnership from 23 deliveries and the 100
in an expensive 14th over, which went for 22.
Watson raised his half-century in 25 balls when he struck the first of four
boundaries in five balls off the costly Morris (1-36), before he was outfoxed
by a Bravo slower delivery.
But Binny, who blasted three sixes and two fours, struck Ravindra Jadeja for
another maximum to win the game with almost three overs to spare.