Superb Dhoni denies Royals

2014-05-13 19:04
MS Dhoni (Getty Images)
Ranchi - MS Dhoni has underlined his status as a legendary finisher when he powered the Chennai Super Kings to the summit of the Pepsi Indian Premier League log as they edged the Rajasthan Royals by five wickets at the JSCA International Stadium Complex in Ranchi on Tuesday.

According to the supersport.com website, Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja marshalled CSK to that 5-wicket win by scoring 25 runs off the final ten deliveries to take Chennai to 149 for 5 with two balls to spare.

Arguably the turning point came in the final over, with 12 runs needed for win and the very cunning James Faulkner bowling.

Dhoni answered the call by the CSK fans by hitting a six over wide long on off Faulkner and also hitting a couple of two’s off Faulkner past extra cover to get Chennai over the line.

Dhoni finished with an undefeated 26 off 16 balls with one four and one six, while Jadeja hit 11 off six balls, with one six.

Their cameos were pivotal to the outcome of the match.

Earlier, Dwayne Smith had CSK off to a rollicking start with 44 off 35 balls.

The Rajasthan Royals managed 148 for eight thanks to a 36-ball 51 smashed by their skipper Shane Watson, including three fours and four sixes, and 30 by Ankit Sharma off 27 balls.

The Royals had 99 for two after 12.2 overs, but they lost their way after the dismissal of Watson on a slow surface.

Mohit Sharma, with 3-31, and Jadeja, with 2-18 in four overs, limited the damage to 34 runs in the final five overs.

In fact, the final ten overs yielded 64 runs and seven wickets.

Jadeja conceded only four runs in the penultimate over and accounted for James Faulkner (1) and Stuart Binny (22).

CSK made an explosive start to their chase thanks to Smith before he was defeated by a slower delivery from Kevon Cooper in the tenth over and CSK was reduced to 76 for three after ten overs.

But in the second half of their innings, they were sedate and battled to come to terms with the slower variations by Cooper, Faulkner and Bhatia on a surface that played lower and slower.

They only scored 30 runs between the tenth and fifteenth over as Faf du Plessis battled with a lower leg injury and mostly only dealt in singles while the boundaries dried up.

Bhatia bowled Ravi Ashwin for 14 to compound CSK’s trouble as they slipped to 105 for 4.

Du Plessis was bowled by 38 (off 39 balls) by Faulkner in the 18th over as CSK were reduced to 121 for 5. Chennai still needed 28 runs off 15 balls as the pressure intensified on the champion side.

But Dhoni stepped up to the plate and was simply brilliant in keeping his composure while smashing all-comers with the help of Jadeja.

Smith and Brendon McCullum made an explosive start by hitting twenty runs in two overs before McCullum was caught behind square off a failed sweep off Ankit Sharma for 6.

Suresh Raina departed in similar fashion in Sharma’s next over for two, when Rajat Bhatia intercepted hi sweep.

CSK finished with 48 for two after six overs.

Smith used his strong forearms to muscle some boundaries, while Du Plessis played audacious lap shots off Bhatia to score ten runs in the ninth over as CSK reached 74 for 2.

Sharma took 2-20 in four overs. Cooper captured 1-25 in four overs, while Bhatia nipped out 1-30 in four overs.

Faulkner conceded 37 runs in 3.4 overs.


Chennai Super Kings: DR Smith, BB McCullum, SK Raina, F du Plessis, MS Dhoni (captain, wicketkeeper), RA Jadeja, V Shankar, R Ashwin, IC Pandey, MM Sharma, S Badree

Rajasthan Royals: AM Rahane, KK Nair, SR Watson (captain), STR Binny, DH Yagnik (wicketkeeper), SPD Smith, JP Faulkner, KK Cooper, R Bhatia, PV Tambe, Ankit Sharma


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