Chennai Super Kings jumped to the top of the table with a fine five-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match at the JSCA International Stadium Complex here Tuesday. (Scorecard | Highlights)
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni again took the team home safely with an unbeaten 26 off 16 balls along with Ravindra Jadeja (11 not out) as Chennai Super Kings achieved the target of 149 with two balls to spare and five wickets in hand.
Though Super Kings lost two quick wickets of Brendan McCullum (6) and Suresh Raina (2) inside five overs, Dwayne Smith (44) and Faf du Plesis (38) kept the Super Kings on track with their valuable knocks. Both McCullum and Raina were removed by left-arm spinner Ankit Sharma, who was the most impressive of the Rajasthan bowlers with two for 20.
Smith was the aggressive one as he struck five fours and two sixes in his 35-ball innings while Du Plesis, was happy giving the strike to his West Indian team mate. The South African struck two fours in his 39-ball knock.
The duo added 35 runs for the third wicket before Smith fell tamely while attempting a pull shot of his fellow West Indian Kevon Cooper, but lobbed it to the wicketkeeper. Ravichandran Ashwin took 16 balls for his 14 and was castled by Rajat Bhatia while Du Plesis had his stumps rattled by James Faulkner.
With Du Plesis back in the dug out, Super Kings were 121 for five in 17.3 overs. They needed another 28 runs in 15 balls. Dhoni made it look simple and finished off the job with ease. He struck a four and a six in his 16-ball innings and got good support from Jadeja to take the team through.
Earlier, a captain's knock of 51 by Shane Watson took Rajasthan Royals to 148 for eight in 20 overs. Besides Watson, Ankit Sharma (30) and Stuart Binny (22) were the two other batsmen, who could get to double figures.
Watson and Ankit gave Rajasthan an impressive start with their 60-run stand but after Aknit's dismissal, they kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Watson played a whirlwind knock in 36 balls and hit three fours and four sixes.
Mohit Sharma picked up 3/31 from his four overs while Ravindra Jadeja bowled miserly for his two for 18 from four overs.