Dhoni Leads Fightback as CSK Beat Rajasthan by 4 Wkts in Thriller
It went right down to the wire.
The target was 151.
18 runs were needed off the last over, with MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja at the crease.
Ben Stokes’ third delivery and Dhoni lost his stumps on 58 and in walked Mitchell Santner.
The odds were stacked against Chennai as 8 runs were needed off the last 3 balls. Stokes bowled a high full toss and the umpire stopped midway through signaling a no ball. Tension ensued with MS Dhoni walking onto the field to speak to the umpires. The decision was not reverted.
Eventually, three runs were needed off the last ball and Mitchell Santner smashed a maximum to get CSK past the finish line. Rajasthan Royals beaten by 4 wickets at home.
Dhoni on his part scored 58 off 43 and added 95 with Ambati Rayudu (57 off 47 balls) for the fifth wicket. However Stokes got him with a yorker and a clear waist high no-ball to Santner was ruled out by umpire Ulhas Gandhe after he raised his arm. This prompted an angry Dhoni to enter the ground and get into a heated discussion with Gandhe and leg umpire Bruce Oxenford.
Earlier in the CSK innings, Dhawal Kulkarni bowled a perfect away going delivery that squared up Shane Watson (0) while Suresh Raina (4) was beaten by a direct throw. Faf du Plessis (7) soon followed suit as Rahul Tripathi took a well judged catch at the deep mid-wicket boundary off Jaydev Unadkat's bowling to reduce CSK to 15 for 3. Kedar Jadhav (1) didn't last long as an air-borne Ben Stokes pulled off an incredible catch at backward point off Jofra Archer's bowling.
At 24 for 4, Dhoni walked in and with two young spinners in Shreyas Gopal and Riyan Parag (0/24 in 3 overs) bowling in tandem, he launched into the duo hitting them for a six each as Rayudu kept on rotating the strike, hitting the odd boundaries in between. Their 50-run stand for the fifth wicket came in 42 balls as Dhoni deposited Gopal into the stands for his third six. Rayudu also did his bit lofting Stokes for a six.
Earlier, Chennai Super Kings produced yet another disciplined bowling effort to restrict Rajasthan Royals to a modest 151 for seven in 20 overs.
Save Jos Buttler (23 off 10 balls) at the top of the order, none of other Royals batsmen looked the part as CSK skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni's immaculate reading of the track once again helped the defending champions.
Left-arm spin duo Ravindra Jadeja (2/20 in 4 overs) and Mitchell Santner (1/25 in 4 overs) checked the run-flow as Royals batsmen were always playing a catch-up game. Even Imran Tahir (0/28 in 4 overs), who went for a few more runs compared to the other two spinners, ended with decent enough figures.
Buttler belted Shardul Thakur (2/44 in 4 overs) for a few boundaries before he mistiming one which was easily caught by Ambati Rayudu. Once Buttler was gone, Royals lost the momentum as wickets fell at regular imtervals. Steve Smith (15,22 balls) struggled once again as he slog swept Ravindra Jadeja towards deep mid-wicket only to find Rayudu. Samson also top edged a sweep which was caught by substitute fielder Dhruv Shorey.
Rahul Tripathi's struggles in the middle-order continued while Ben Stokes' 28 off 26 balls wasn't good enough.
It was Shreyas Gopal, who struck a few meaty blows en route his 19 off 7 balls to take the target past 150 despite the home team playing as many as 42 dot balls.