Chennai, March 31: MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings once again held on to their nerve as they defeated Rajasthan Royals by 8 runs in a nail-biting last-over thriller in their second home game at MA Chidambaram Stadium on Sunday (March 31) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019.
Chasing a gettable total of 176, with dew at Chepauk making it tough for the spinners to bowl, Royals once again wilted under pressure and suffered their third successive defeat in the tournament.
With this win, Chennai once again climbed at the top of the points table with all three wins in the tournament. Dwyane Bravo once again proved he still is one of the best death overs bowlers as he successfully helped CSK manage to defend the total. With 12 required from the last six deliveries with dangerous looking Ben Stokes on strike but the Jamaican dismissed the Englishman on the first delivery and brought the hosts back in the game.
Bravo then conceded three more runs from the next five deliveries and took one more wicket to guide his team to yet another sensational win. Bravo finished his quota of 4 overs with 32 for two.
Deepak Chahar (4-1-19-2), Shardul Thakur (4-0-42-2), Imran Tahir (4-0-22-2), and Bravo (4-0-32-2) bagged two wickets apiece as 'captain cool' MS Dhoni strategically used his bowlers.
Apart from Stokes, Rahul Tripathi (39), and Steve Smith (28) also played good hands in the run chase but they lost their wickets at crucial junctures.
Earlier, Dhoni led his team from the front as he revived his team from a critical situation and guided the CSK to a competitive total. After being invited to bat first, CSK were dealt with major blows when their openers Ambati Rayudu (1) and Shane Watson (13), and Kedar Jadhav (8) were dismissed cheaply in the powerplay.
Dhoni and Suresh Raina (36) revived the innings for Chennai as Royals bowlers bowled exceptionally well in the first 10 overs. Dhoni and Raina couldn't free their hands. After Raina's dismissal, Bravo (27 off 16) too played a brilliant cameo before Dhoni (75* off 46) ended the CSK innings with his late flourish. Dhoni hammered Jaydev Unadkat for three back-to-back sixes in the final over and propelled his team to a big respectable total.
Here's how the match between CSK and RR panned out:
Three wins for CSK in three games propelled them at the top of the points-table once again.
Captain Cool MS Dhoni named the man of the match for his match-winning effort and leading the team from the front.
It's all over!! Dwayne Bravo once again lives up to his reputation of a death-overs' specialist and Chennai Super Kings beat Rajasthan Royals by 8 runs in a nail-biting thriller.
DJ Bravo showing signs of his usual self at the death this season after poor performances last few seasons. He has conceded at 7.2 rpo with a wicket once in 5 balls at the death this season compared to 11.42 rpo with a wicket once in 18 balls in IPL 2016 & 2018. #IPL2019 #CSKvRR— The Cricket Prof. (@CricProf) March 31, 2019
Wicket!! Gopal mistimes it and Tahir takes a simple catch in the deep. HE departs for a duck. Chants of Bravo Bravo and CSK CSK reverberating at Chepauk.
19.4! Wide Yorker from Bravo and Archer could get only 1. 10 needed from 2 balls.
Wicket! Stokes (46) gives a catch to Raina. Bravo strikes on the first ball. RR need 12 from 5. Thriller of a contest, this.
RR - 164/6 after 19 overs. 13 came from that over and Rajasthan Royals need 12 from last 6.
SIXXXX!! Ben Stokes plays a brilliant one-handed shot off Shardul and the ball sails outside the boundary. Poor bowling from Shardul. 15 needed from 8 balls
19 runs came from that over bowled by Bravo and Rajasthan Royals have kept themselves in this game. 25 needed from 12 balls.
Four! Another brilliant shot from Stokes. He has brought the hosts in the game with his power hittings.
SIX!! Slower one from Bravo and Stokes dispatches him over mid-on for a maximum.
SIX!!! Jofra Archer hits Shardul Thakur over long-on for a maximum. It was right into his arc and the ball sailed into the stands. The match is still ON. RR need 44 from 18 balls.
Four! Jofra Archer opens his account with a brilliant cut shot towards point. He could play a good hand with the bat in the end.
Wicket! K Gowtham (9) gives a simple catch to Suresh Raina at extra-cover. Shardul gets another wicket. RR - 120/6
Rajasthan Royals reach 120/5 after 16 overs. 9 conceded by Tahir from his final over. They need 56 from 24 balls.
14 runs came from that over bowled by Ravindra Jadeja. RR - 111/5 after 15 overs. 65 more runs needed from 30 balls.
SIX! Ben Stokes tonks Ravindra Jadeja over mid-wicket for a maximum. They would require more such strokes from the all-rounder.
4 runs and a wicket came from that over bowled by Tahir. RR - 97/5 after 14 overs.
Wicket! Imran Tahir gets set Steve Smith (28). The Aussie hit him over long-off but didn't get the distance and Shorey (sub) takes a simple catch. CSK - 94/5 after 13.2 overs.
After 12 overs, Rajasthan Royals reach 87/4. They need 89 more from 48 balls.
4 runs conceded by Bravo. Rajasthan Royals - 80/4 after 11 overs. Steve Smith and Ben Stokes are present in the middle.
Wicket! Rahul Tripathi (39) gives an easy return catch to Tahir. Tahir strikes in his first over. Good move from Dhoni to bring the senior spinner in the attack. RR - 75/4 after 10 overs.
9 came from the second over bowled by Santner. RR 72/3 after 9 overs. Rajasthan need 104 from 66 deliveries. At this stage, it seems the Royals are going at a decent pace.
Four! Another brilliant shot from Rahul Tripathi against Santner. The Kiwi spinner is playing his first game for CSK and it hasn't been a memorable outing for him so far.
50-run partnership between Rahul Tripathi (33*) and Steve Smith (20*) Royals are going well the run chase.
Four! Another fine shot from Rahul Tripathi. This one came against Ravindra Jadeja. It won't be easy for Chennai bowlers from this stage because the dew factor is making it tough for them to bowl. RR - 63/3 after 8 overs. At this stage, CSK were 38/3.
Four! A loose delivery from Chahar and Rahul Tripathi pulls it towards fine leg boundary. RR - 54/3 after 7 overs. They are reviving well after a flurry of wickets early on. These two need to stay in the middle for RR.
17 runs came from the first over bowled by Santner. Royals reach 45/3 after 6 overs. That over must have eased the pressure off the batting side. The dew factor is already showing its effect.
Four, Four (No-Ball), SIX (on Free-Hit)! Mitchell Santner has been introduced in the sixth over and Rahul Tripathi has welcomed the New Zealand spinner in style.
4,4! Back-to-back boundaries from Steve Smith off Thakur.
Wicket! Jos Buttler (6) is caught by Dwayne Bravo at mid-off. Shardul Thakur gets his first wicket. RR - 14/3 after 3.1.
Wicket! After Jadeja, it's Suresh Raina who takes a brilliant catch to get rid Sanju Samson for 8. Deepak Chahar gets another wicket.
Four!! Sanju Samson welcomes Chahar with a boundary.
Four! Jos Buttler opens his account with a boundary.
Wicket!! Ajinkya Rahane (0) departs for a duck and Ravindra Jadeja takes brilliant diving catch forward at point. Chahar strikes. RR - 0/1
2nd Innings! Ajinkya Rahane and Jos Buttler are out into the middle to begin Royals' run chase of 176.
Most runs scored off an over in IPL 2019: 28 MS Dhoni /R Jadeja off J Unadkat 25 S Narine off V Chakravarthy 25 R Uthappa/ A Russell off Mohammed Shami
Highest scores for Dhoni in IPL: 79* vs KXIP, Mohali, 2018 75* vs RR, Chennai, 2019 (tonight) 70* vs RCB, Bengaluru, 2011 70* vs RCB, Bengaluru, 2018.
SIX!! A hat-trick of maximums from Thala MS Dhoni from the final over bowled by Unadkat. And Chennai Super Kings post 175/5 after 20 overs.
SIX! Another maximum from Dhoni over long-off. Third maximum of the over.
SIX!! MS Dhoni pulls Unadkat for a maximum. Short length ball, Dhoni waits for the ball and deposits it way over the deep square leg fence for a maximum Rahane isn't happy with the bowler.
SIX!! Jadeja charges down the ground and hammers Unadkat straight down the ground.
Dhoni ends Jofra Archer's over with a single to retain strike. CSK - 147/5 after 19 overs. Will he be able to finish things with a flourish??
Wicket! DJ Bravo's cameo of 27 runs comes to an end. Couldn't time the slower one from Jofra Archer and Kulkarni takes a simple catch at long on. CSK - 144/5 after 18.3 overs.
Nice little cameo from Bravo there as he looked to up the scoring rate at the death. Across his IPL career against pacers, Bravo has always been productive playing that uppish drive on the off-side behind square. #IPL2019 #CSKvRR pic.twitter.com/YzfXEZzAnu— The Cricket Prof. (@CricProf) March 31, 2019
Four!! Fifty for Thala Dhoni with a boundary. He walked into the middle at a critical time but ensured his team didn't wobble.
Four, SIX! Dwayne Bravo edges Kulkarni and the ball goes between short thirdman and point. Bravo then hits the pacer over covers for a maximum. 24 runs came from that over. CSK - 139/4 after 18 overs.
SIX!!! Low full-toss from Kulkarni on the Free-Hit delivery and Dhoni dispatches it over covers for a maximum. He doesn't play that stroke often but desperate time, desperate measures.
Just 7 came from that Archer over despite getting hit for a boundary on the second ball. CSK - 115/4 after 17 overs.
Four! Dhoni cuts the slower on from Archer and the pierces the ball between point and short third-man.
Tidy over from Jaydev Unadkat as he concedes just 9 from it. CSK - 108/4 after 16 overs. They would reach a decent total only if Dhoni-Bravo get a late flourish.
100 up for Chennai with a single from Dhoni off Unadkat.
Four! Bravo ends Stokes' over with a boundary and Chennai reach 99/4 after 15 overs. They would hope for a late flourish to get to a decent total but Royals have bowlers who can keep things tight.
Four! Dwyane Bravo hits Stokes over covers and opens his account with a boundary. Backfoot punch from the batsman and the ball races towards the fence.
Wicket! Suresh Raina has been clean bowled for 36 by Jaydev Unadkat. MS Dhoni isn't happy with the dismissal of his batting partner as they have lost a crucial wicket at a critical juncture. CSK - 88/4 after 13.4 overs.
Lucky! Suresh Raina would have been run out had Dhawal Kulkarni's direct-hit was spot on. Raina had given it up.
5 came from that over bowled by Ben Stokes. CSK - 83/3 after 13 overs.
1,0,4,2,1,4! 12 runs conceded by Jaydev Unadkat from his first over. CSK are 78/3 after 12 overs. They need big overs like these to post a respectable total.
Value of experience can’t be discounted. This partnership between the old firm of @msdhoni & @ImRaina is potentially a matchwinning one if it lasts another 4-5 overs. And yes, seeing them bat, i’ve revised the par score to 145!😊— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) March 31, 2019
11 runs came from that over bowled by Gopal. CSK - 66/3.
SIX!! Suresh Raina hits Shreyas Gopal over mid-on for a maximum. Good start from the vice-captain.
10 overs have been bowled and Chennai have reached 55 for 3.
7 came from that over bowled by Shreyas Gopal. CSK 45/3 after 9 overs. Ajinkya Rahane's decision to bowl first has been brilliantly complemented by his bowlers.
3 runs came from the first over bowled by Krishnappa Gowtham. CSK - 38/3 after 8 overs. This isn't the ideal start for them. The crowd at Chepauk has mostly been kept silent, thanks to the superb bowling from Royals.
5 runs came from the first over bowled by Shreyas Gopal. CSK - 34/3 after 7 overs. Raina and Dhoni need to play cautiously on this track.
End of the powerplay and #CSK could only muster 29 and lost 3 wickets in the process. Brilliant captaincy from Ajinkya Rahane. Rajasthan Royals are off to a brilliant start.
Juicy pitch. Should be a very interesting contest if CSK set 130 or thereabouts for RR. With 3 top order batsmen gone, getting that score is the challenge— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) March 31, 2019
Lucky!! MS Dhoni would have been clean bowled by Archer but the bails remain intact as the ball rolls on to the stumps.
Wicket!! Kedar Jadhav (8) edges Dhawal Kulkarni and Jos Buttler takes a simple catch behind the stumps. Poor shot selection from Kedar and he pays the price. CSK - 27/3 after 4.5 overs, they are in early trouble.
Kedar Jadhav has walked into the middle and he gets back-to-back boundaries off Ben Stokes. CSK - 22/2 after 4 overs. This isn't the kind of start they would have hoped for.
Big Wicket! Shane Watson cuts Stokes towards the third man but Jofra Archer catches him at the short-third man. Watson departs for 13. CSK - 14/2 after 3.4 overs. Not the ideal start for CSK.
SIX!!! Shane Watson pulls Ben Stokes over mid-wicket for a maximum. The ball is also lost in the process.
SIX!!! Shane Watson pulls Ben Stokes over mid-wicket for a maximum. The ball is also lost in the process.
7 runs came from the second over bowled by Kulkarni. Superb start from Rajasthan Royals after electing to bowl. CSK - 8/1 after 3 overs.
Four!! First boundary for Watson as he hits Dhawal Kulkarni over mid-wicket region.
Not Out! Watson Survives! An ordinary decision from the umpire as he ruled Watson out caught behind. The Aussie used the DRS to perfection to survive. The ball brushed his thigh pad.
Wicket! Ambati Rayudu (1) has been dismissed for 1 by Jofra Archer. Change of pace from the bowler and batsman was looking to cut but ended up giving an edge and Buttler takes a simple catch. Early wicket for Royals. CSK - 1/1 after 2 overs.
Tight first over from Dhawal Kulkarni as he concedes just 1 from it. Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu are looking to settle down. CSK - 1/0. Jofra Archer bowls the second over for Rajasthan Royals.
Ambati Rayudu and Shane Watson are into the middle to start the innings for CSK. Dhawal Kulkarni to starts with the new ball for Royals.
It will be a challenge for RR tonight. But they are a good team and Chennai couldn't take them lightly.
Fortress home for @ChennaiIPL. Think it will be difficult for @rajasthanroyals. with the bowling line up as they come up against CSK's batting strength. Let's see. It's a funny game. But expecting RR to be rooted to the bottom still alongside RCB by tonight #CSKvRR— Ian Pont (@Ponty100mph) March 31, 2019
Chennai's batting hasn't been tested in the match so far. It will be interesting to see how what will be competitive total on a tricky Chepauk track.
Rajasthan Royals (Playing XI): Ajinkya Rahane(c), Jos Buttler(w), Sanju Samson, Steven Smith, Ben Stokes, Rahul Tripathi, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jofra Archer, Jaydev Unadkat, Shreyas Gopal, Dhawal Kulkarni.
CSK (Playing XI): Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni(w/c), Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Mitchell Santner, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Imran Tahir.
MS Dhoni: By 8 o'clock the dew already starts coming down, although it will keep getting heavier. I am not saying it will not make a difference, but it does even out a bit. Just the one change - Mitchell Santner comes in place of Harbhajan Singh.
Ajinkya Rahane: We'll bowl first. Not sure about the wicket but I think dew might come in later. Chennai is a very strong batting line up and we'll look to bowl well up front to them. We are playing with the same XI.
Chennai are playing with 4 overseas players. Mitchell Santner has replaced Harbhajan Singh CSK Playing XI tonight.
Toss: Rajasthan Royals win toss, elect to bowl first against Chennai Super Kings.