Pune, April 20: A day after veteran West Indies batsman Chris Gayle lighted up Indian Premier League 2018 with a blistering century, seasoned all-rounder Shane Watson slammed the second ton of the ongoing tournament.
Watson smashed his third IPL century as Chennai Super Kings moved to their new 'home' by posting a challenging 204 for five against Rajasthan Royals at Pune' MCA Stadium on Friday (April 20).
CSK were shepherded by the 36-year-old Australian, who hammered 106 from 57 balls, making full use of a dropped chance in the very first over on a flat track.
Playing first match at their new home venue, Chennai made most of the opportunity after Ajinkya Rahane won the toss and invited MS Dhoni to bat.
Starting the innings for CSK, Watson shared a 50-run stand with fellow opener Ambati Rayudu (12) and then raised an 81-run partnership for the second wicket with comeback-man Suresh Raina, who hit a fiery 46 off 29 balls with nine shots to the fence.
Watson was in regal touch as the Australian pummelled Royals bowlers after being dropped in the opening over, bowled by Stuart Binny. With no assistance on offer, the bowlers needed to be disciplined with their line and length but they were guilty of bowling either too full or short.
Watson swung his arms when the ball was pitched outside off and positioned himself nicely against short and straight deliveries to find boundary after boundary. He hit nine fours and six sixes in his entertaining knock.
At the half-way mark, CSK were 107 for one. In no time, Watson was approaching his hundred and Raina, a half-century, but Gopal brought relief for Royals by getting the latter caught in deep by Gowtham.
There was no stopping Watson from the other end. He not only hit powerful shots but also used his wrists nicely for some delicate boundaries.
Watson completed his century in the 18th over and was out on penultimate ball of the innings.
Here's how Twitterati reacted to Watson's innings:
So Watson returns the favour by dropping one in the slips! Surprised Klaasen is opening, thought he was picked as a finisher......— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) April 20, 2018
Fewer sixes than Gayle in his century, but also fewer balls to reach three-figure mark. This is a top class century by Shane Watson...— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) April 20, 2018
#CSKvRR— Ramesh Srivats (@rameshsrivats) April 20, 2018
Yesterday, Chris Gayle. Today, Shane Watson.
Two excellent centuries by RCB alumni.
Gayle and Watson, both thought to be long in the tooth, are roasting bowlers with the vigour, power and hunger of batsmen 10 years younger— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) April 20, 2018
Shane Watson #CSK registers #IPL's 49th hundred!— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) April 20, 2018
Individual 100s by IPL sides..
12 - RCB
10 - KXIP
7 - DD
6 - CSK
4 - MI/RR
2 - DC/RPS
1 - KKR/SRH
Note: Top three sides yet to win the #IPL 😱#IPL2018#CSKvRR