Rajasthan Royals put up a majestic all-round performance against Chennai Super Kings on Sunday at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur to overcome the table toppers. Chennai were on top both with the bat and ball for half the match, but the hosts did commendably well to stage a fight back on both occasions and, in the end, clinch victory in a rather impressive manner. It is a fact that Rajasthan aren’t the strongest side in the competition, but often they have come up with commanding performances to overcome stronger sides. Sunday was no different.
Shane Watson was the man who played the match-defining innings. When he came into bat during the chase, Rajasthan were in all sorts of trouble, looking to overhaul a challenging target. By the time he left though, his side was pretty much at the door step of victory. It is no secret that Watson is one of the cleanest strikers of the cricket ball, but against Chennai he once again reiterated that he has the ability to turn around matches with his astounding big hits. For the record, Watson smashed six fours and six sixes in his 34-ball knock. The figures itself tell the story of domination.
While Watson was brilliant, Stuart Binny once again proved that he is a fine finisher of a cricket match. Binny matched Watson stroke for stroke, and didwell to ensure that he stayed till the very end, and took the team past the finishing line. Rajasthan were in trouble early on when they lost four wickets very early in the chase, but the partnership between Watson and Binny was rather dazzling, which put the Chennai bowlers on the back foot and did not allow them to recover.
Chennai would be ruing their missed opportunities in the match although it wouldn’t adversely impact their fortunes of progressing further in the tournament. The visitors got off to a very bright start, with Mike Hussey and Murali Vijay taking the Rajasthan bowlers to the sword during their opening partnership, which batted out more than half of Chennai’s innings. But, once Hussey departed, it was all one-way traffic as far as Chennai were concerned. Rajasthan fought back valiantly, with Kevon Cooper dismissing Suresh Raina and skipper MS Dhoni in quick succession. Those wickets and some great death bowling kept Chenni down to a chaseable total.
It must be said that Chennai were highly impactful with the ball early on. The little-know Jason Holder came up with an impactful opening spell during which he sent back Ajinkya Rahane and James Faulkner. Chris Morris and Mohit Sharma also made an impression sending back Rahul Dravid and themdangerous Sanju Samson. However, Chennai could not build any further pressure on Rajasthan, or in other words, Watson and Binny did not allow them to. Both the bat as well as with the ball, Chennai could have outdone Rajasthan, but it turned out to be the other way round.
Turning point of the game: Watson’s 34-ball 70, which doomed Chennai.
--By A Cricket Analyst