Rajasthan Royals rode a heroic batting effort by Jos Buttler to edge out Chennai Super Kings (CSK) by four wickets in a nail-biting Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Friday. Buttler batted through the innings to help Rajasthan overhaul a stiff 177-run target with just one ball to go. Having opened the Rajasthan along with England star Ben Stokes, Buttler continued to defy the CSK bowlers even as wickets fell at the other end. He remained unbeaten on 95 runs off just 60 balls, hitting 11 boundaries and a couple of sixes along the way. Despite the defeat, CSK continue to hold on to the second spot with 14 points from 11 matches. They trail league leaders Sunrisers Hyderabad by four points. Rajasthan are sixth on the 10-team table with 10 points from 11 matches. In an edge-of-the-seat affair that went right down to the wire, it was Buttler who gave the Rajasthan innings a powerful start by hitting David Willey for consecutive boundaries off the opening three balls. He hit Harbhajan Singh for two boundaries and a six in the next over.
A decent batting effort helped Chennai Super Kings (CSK) post a fighting total of 176/4 against Rajasthan Royals in an Indian Premier League (IPL) tie at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium. It was a fine knock by Suresh Raina (52 off 35 balls), followed by skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni's unbeaten 33 and opener Shane Watson's 39 runs which took the yellow brigade to a good total against the hosts. Opting to bat first, the visitors were off to a quick start as openers Ambati Rayudu and Watson accumulated 19 runs from the first two overs. However, the decent start was short-lived as Jofra Archer drew the first blood for the hosts, when a short-ball from him took an inside edge to shattered Rayudu's (12 off 9 balls) stumps in the third over. The opener's fall saw Raina joining Watson in the middle and the duo helped Chennai recover from the early blow taking their side past the 50-run mark in 5.1 overs. Both batmen further played sensibly and shared an 81-run partnership to help the yellow brigade cross 100-run mark in 11.1 overs. With the Australian all-rounder inching towards his half-centrury, Archer struck again in the 12th over to pack back a good looking Watson on 39 runs and Chennai's scorecard reading 105/2. On the other hand, Raina, who was then accompanied by skipper Dhoni, slammed his half century facing 32 balls however, the southpaw threw his wicket when he failed to read a googly by Ish Sodhi, giving an easy catch to Stuart Binny at short-fine leg. With Chennai at 119/3 in 13 overs, Dhoni and Sam Billings (27 off 22) forged a 55-run partnership off 39 balls to put back things in control. Billings departed in the final over while trying to take a single as wicket-keeper Jos Buttler's throw from behind demolised the Englishman's stump. Dhoni remained unbeaten on 33 runs facing 23 balls, hitting a boundary and a six to help his side reach a fighting total of 176 runs. For Rajasthan, Archer bagged couple of wickets but leaked 42 runs while Sodhi scalped one conceding 29 runs.Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings, the two franchises that returned to the IPL after serving bans in the aftermath of the 2013 spot-fixing scandal, will come face to face for the first time in the ongoing edition, keen to regain lost momentum. A loss in their last outing has hurt both the former champions and they will look to get back to winning ways when they face off. Rajasthan Royals are sixth with eight points, while Chennai Super Kings sit on the second spot with 14 points. Both the teams were missing in action owing to a two-year ban for corruption. Rajasthan, under new captain Ajinkya Rahane, had a bad start to the campaign but they have done well with two back-to-back wins before Kolkata Knight Riders outclassed them by seven wickets. (Play Fantasy Cricket & Win Cash Daily!)
On a slow wicket, Rahane and Co. failed to stitch partnerships and ended up with a below-par total of 160-8 on board, which KKR chased down with consummate ease, losing three wickets. Sanju Samson has been the batting star for Rajasthan as he has scored 185 runs so far with an unbeaten 92-run innings being the highlight but he didn't get the desired support from other batsmen. Rahane has made some useful contributions but he failed to capitalise on the starts. Their bowling unit, led by K Gowtham and Ben Laughlin, have done well. They sustained the onslaught by big hitters like Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers during their match against heavy-weight Royal Challengers Bangalore. But England all-rounder Ben Stokes, who was bought for a whopping Rs 12.5 crore by Rajasthan, has been a big let down and he needs to live up to the billing. (SCORECARD)
IPL 2018 Highlights of Rajasthan Royals vs Chennai Super Kings match, straight from Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur
23:47 IST: It's all over, Jos Buttler takes Rajasthan Royals home as they beat Chennai Super Kings by 4 wickets. The Englishman stays unbeaten on 95 after a sensational innings.
Rajasthan Royals need 12 runs in 6 balls.
After 19 overs, RR are 165/6
23:40 IST: Sensational stuff from Jos Buttler and Gowtham. They are doing everything to get Rajasthan Royals past the finish line.
WICKET! Gowtham c Dhoni b Willey 13(4)
After 18 overs, RR are 149/5
23:24 IST: WICKET! Stuart Binny c Watson b Dwayne Bravo 22(17).
Stuart Binny falls after a crucial cameo. Didn't middle the delivery from Dwayne Bravo well, giving away a leading edge. No mistake from Shane Watson at extra cover. Jos Buttler still hanging in there.
After 17 overs, RR are 139/4
23:28 IST: Looks like Jos Buttler is going to take this down the wire. Rajasthan Royals need 38 runs in 18 balls
After 16 overs, RR are 131/4
23:24 IST: Jos Buttler is the key man as he is keeping Rajasthan Royals in the hunt. Chennai Super Kings need to get rid of him.
After 15 overs, RR are 122/4
23:18 IST: Rajasthan Royals need to accelerate their scoring rate now. Just 5 overs to go. Rajasthan Royals need 55 runs in 30 balls.
After 14 overs, RR are 114/4
23:11 IST: Rajasthan Royals need 63 runs in 36 balls
After 13 overs, RR are 109/4
23:05 IST: WICKET! Prashant Chopra c Dwayne Bravo b SN Thakur 8(6)
After 12 overs, RR are 104/3
22:59 IST: Samson played the ball towards backward point and took a couple of steps down the pitch. Buttler ran for the single. Samson was watching the ball and quickly turned his back, while Buttler ran through to the striker's end. Eventually, Samson sacrificed himself. Raina passed the ball onto Bravo who under-armed it back onto the stumps.
100 comes up for RR in the 12th over.
22:57 IST: WICKET! Sanju Samson run out (Raina/Dwayne Bravo) 21(22)
After 10 overs, RR are 88/2
22:49 IST: Jos Buttler and Sanju Samson are batting very sensibly and trying to frustrate CSK bowlers. 10 overs gone, 10 to go.
After 8 overs, RR are 78/2
22:37 IST: Jos Buttler brings up his fourth successive fifty to match Virat Kohli's feat. Only Virender Sehwag has five in a row.
After 7 overs, RR are 67/2
22:30 IST: CSK's spinners hit back with two wickets in two overs and RR have slowed down drastically.
After 5 overs, RR are 55/2
22:23 IST: 50 up for RR in the 5th over
22:22 IST: Jadeja got an outside edge from Rahane as Raina grabbed it at slip.
22:21 IST: WICKET! Ajinkya Rahane c Raina b Jadeja 4(3)
22:19 IST: A bizarre innings from Ben Stokes comes to an end with him screaming in agony. He ran down the track as Harbhajan bowled a slider. Stokes misses it as the ball hits the middle stump.
22:17 IST: WICKET! Ben Stokes b Harbhajan 11(7)
After 2 overs, RR are 27/0
22:08 IST: Harbhajan Singh gets the same treatment as David Willey from Jos Buttler. Gets hit for two fours and a six.
Ben Stokes is opening for the first time in his T20 career of 103 matches.
After 1 over, RR are 13/0
22:04 IST: Jos Buttler has continued from where he left in the last innings. Three consecutive FOURS against David Willey. Excellent start for RR in chase of 177 vs CSK.
22:01 IST: Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes will open the innings for RR. David Willey will open the attack for CSK.
21:47 IST: Chennai Super Kings score 176/4 in 20 overs.
21:45 IST: WICKET! Sam Billings run out (Jos Buttler) 27(22)
After 18 overs, CSK are 153/3
21:33 IST: Rajasthan bowlers are not letting MS Dhoni and Sam Billings score and they have done exceptionally well after getting a beating by Suresh Raina and Shane Watson. 150 up for Chennai in the 18th over.
After 16 overs, CSK are 134/3
21:22 IST: Things have slowed down for CSK after Suresh Raina and Shane Watson's departure.
After 14 overs, CSK are 125/3
21:15 IST: Raina went for the sweep but ended up giving a top-edge. Binny at short fine leg held on to the catch.
With two new batsmen at the crease, Royals will look to get in a few quite overs. Let's see how that works with MS Dhoni out there in the middle.
21:10 IST: WICKET! Suresh Raina c Binny b Ish Sodhi 52(35)
21:07 IST: Suresh Raina brings up his third fifty of the ongoing edition in 32 balls.
After 12 overs, CSK are 111/2
21:03 IST: Jofra Archer gets the second wicket as well. He managed to deceive Watson with his pace. It was a short length delivery on off stump and the batsman pulled it late. Jos Buttler took an excellent catch.
20:58 IST: WICKET! Shane Watson c Buttler b Jofra Archer 39(31)
After 10 overs, CSK are 90/1
20:50 IST: After a missed run-out Shane Watson adds insult to injury by hitting Unadkat for SIX runs over midwicket.
After 9 overs, CSK are 80/1
20:45 IST: 50 partnership comes up between Suresh Raina and Shane Watson.
After 8 overs, CSK are 64/1
20:40 IST: Bowling has been a top concern for RR this season. They are low on bowling options and we can see that in today's game as well.
After 6 overs, CSK are 55/1
20:30 IST: CSK are off to an excellent start, thanks to Suresh Raina and they would be targeting a score of around 160-170. RR are desperate need of wickets.
After 5 overs, CSK are 50/1
20:24 IST: 50 up for Chennai Super Kings in the 5th over.
After 4 overs, CSK are 41/1
20:17 IST: Rayudu might have failed today but Chennai Super Kings are off to a flier.
After 3 overs, CSK are 30/1
20:13 IST: It was back of a length delivery outside off. Rayudu threw his bat aiming to chop it away through point. Instead, the ball took the inside edge rattling Rayudu's stumps.
20:10 IST: WICKET! Rayudu b Jofra Archer 12(9)
After 1 over, CSK are 8/0
20:03 IST: Good first over for CSK. Rayudu looks in excellent touch.
20:00 IST: Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu to open the batting for CSK. Gowtham begins the attack for RR.
Rajasthan Royals (Playing XI): Ajinkya Rahane(c), Jos Buttler(w), Prashant Chopra, Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Stuart Binny, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jofra Archer, Ankit Sharma, Jaydev Unadkat, Ish Sodhi
Chennai Super Kings (Playing XI): Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, Sam Billings, MS Dhoni(w/c), Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Karn Sharma, David Willey, Harbhajan Singh, Shardul Thakur
19:30 IST: Chennai Super Kings win the toss and opt to bat.
Two-time champions Chennai, on the other hand, made a rampaging start to their campaign with back-to-back wins against defending champions Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders. While Dwayne Bravo came to their rescue with a 30-ball 68 against Mumbai Indians in their first match, it was Sam Billings who put the finishing touch to their superb run-chase against Kolkata Knight Riders in a high-scoring match. In their last match against Kings XI Punjab, Ambati Rayudu (49) and MS Dhoni (79) brought the Super Kings close to the victory target of 198 before falling short by four runs. Among bowlers, Shane Watson and Shardul Thakur led the pace attack for Chennai with five and three wickets respectively, while Imran Tahir did the job with his Leg-break googlies. The experienced spin duo of Harbhajan Singh and Ravindra Jadeja too can be a potent force.
Rajasthan Royals: Heinrich Klassen, Benjamin Stokes, Jaydev Unadkat, Sanju Samson, Jofra Archer, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jos Buttler, Ajinkya Rahane, Darcy Short, Rahul Tripathi, Dhawal Kulkarni, Zahir Khan Pakteen, Ben Laughlin, Stuart Binny, Dushmantha Chameera, Anureet Singh, Aryaman Vikram Birla, Midhun S, Shreyas Gopal, Prashant Chopra, Jatin Saxena, Ankit Sharma, Mahipal Lomror.
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (capt), Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Faf du Plessis, Harbhajan Singh, Dwayne Bravo, Shane Watson, Kedar Jadhav, Ambati Rayudu, Deepak Chahar, KM Asif, Kanishk Seth, Lungi Ngidi, Dhruv Shorey, Murali Vijay, Sam Billings, Mark Wood, Kshitiz Sharma, Monu Kumar, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Imran Tahir, Karn Sharma, Shardul Thakur, N Jagadeesan.