Chennai Super Kings (CSK) MS Dhoni played one of his best Indian Premier League (IPL) knocks on Sunday to help the defending champions beat visiting Rajasthan Royals (RR) by eight runs at Chepauk and maintain their unbeaten start to the 2018 season.
After the end round three, defending champions CSK returned to the top of the IPL table with three wins from three. Last season's finalists, SRH are second by virtue of better net run rate, ahead of KKR, DC and KXIP – all four teams have two wins so far. MI are 6th with a win, while RR and RCB are 7th and 8th in the eight-team league.
RR host Royal Challengers Bangalore on Tuesday, while CSK travel to Mumbai for a fixture on Wednesday.
RR INNINGS; TARGET 176
12:11 PM IST: Straight to Suresh Raina at cover, and Ben Stokes' gone (46 off 26). Dwayne Bravo struck the first ball in the last over. 12 needed off five balls and Shreyas Gopal joined Jofra Archer. No change over. A dot ball. 12 off 4. Well directed and Gopal tried to guide it, but missed. At the body, and hit on the helmet but took a run. One leg bye. 11 off 3 balls. RR need a biggie here. Jofra Archer on strike, and Dhoni has summoned his players. Long discussion and few tweaks in fielding positions. Wide off the off and only a single. Archer should have avoided taking that single. And he asked for a new bat. 10 needed off 2. Dhoni has marshalled his fielders behind the wicket. A wild swing and a skier and catch taken at third man by Imran Tahir. That's it. Gopal gone. Only a no ball can save RR now. Stokes has slumped to his seat. He had the game. A single and it's over. RR 167/8. Lost. Or rather, CSK won by eight runs.
12:01 PM IST: Shardul Thakur got the honour of bowling the penultimate, make or break over. A leg bye off the first ball as Ben Stokes failed to make contact. A single, then a double as Jofra Archer p[layed it over backward point. A single, then Stokes hoicked the next one over backward square boundary for a six. And he's change the batting gloves. 15 needed off 8. A double followed. 13 off 7. A single as Stokes kept the strike. 13 runs from the over. RR were 164/6 after 19 overs. They need 12 from 6 balls. Thakur completed his spell: 4-0-42-2.
Scoring: 1L 2 1 6 2 1.
11:54 PM IST: Ben Stokes decided to change the gears. Started the 18th over, bowled by Dwayne Bravo, with a six, hit over deep extra cover boundary. It as followed by a four, interesting shot, beating the fine leg fielder with a late scoop. A single, then the RR batsmen ran for two. And kaboom! Six over long-on. Huge. Jofra Archer even posed for the cameras on the follow through. 19 runs from the over. RR were 151/5 after 18 overs. They need 25 from the last two overs.
Scoring: 6 4 1 2 6 0.
11:48 PM IST: Suresh Raina take a well-judged catch, running towards cover to dismiss Krishnappa Gowtham (9 off 8). FoW-120/6 (16.1 Over). Jofra Archer joined Ben Stokes in the middle. And he hit the first ball for a four to the deep backward point boundary. Shardul Thakur responded with a bouncer, well-directed one for a single. Stokes took a single to keep the scoreboard ticking. Next ball beat the outside edge. Then a clean hit over long-on for a six. 12 runs from the over. Thakur's figures so far: 3-0-30-2. RR were 132/6 after 17 overs, still need 44 from 18 balls.
Scoring: W 4 1 1 0 6.
11:42 PM IST: Imran Tahir with his final over. A six to start with, as Krishnappa Gowtham launched it over cow corner. Clean hitting. Two dots, then a single. A full toss and Ben Stokes gently played towards long-off for a single. Lots of noises as Tahir made frantic attempt to guide the straight drive from Gowtham to the non-striker's wicket. Nothing happening even though the bowler and Stokes tumbled. Nine runs from the over and RR were 120/5 after 16 overs. They needed another 56 from 24 balls. Tahir's figures: 4-0-23-2.
Scoring: 6 0 0 1 1 1.
11:37 PM IST: One huge over, this time for RR, before taking a time-out. Ben Stokes ht Ravindra Jadeja for a six over deep mid-wicket. Stokes took two twos from the first two balls, and hit the third for his first maximum. Two singles and a double more. 14 runs from Jadjeja's second over. RR were 111/5 after 15 overs. They needed another 65 runs from 30 balls.
Scoring: 2 2 6 1 1 2.
11:30 PM IST: Imran Tahir's jubilant. A single off the first ball, taken by Ben Stokes. Then shout 'catch it' at the top of his lungs as Steve Smith launched the next ball over mid-off. And catch taken by sub fielder Dhruv Shorey. FoW-96/5 (13.3 Over). Krishnappa Gowtham joined Stokes in the centre. Tahir's figures so far: 3-0-14-2. RR needed 79 runs from 36 balls.
Scoring: 1 W 2 0 1 0.
11:25 PM IST: One eventful over from Dwayne Bravo. Started with a wide to Steve Smith. MS Dhoni thought there was a nick and huge south from a usually reticent wicketkeeper. Another wide, down the leg again. Two singles, then a dot. Followed by a couple of singles. Swing and miss from Smith. Six runs from the over. RR were 93/4 after 13 overs. They needed another need 83 runs from 42 balls.
Scoring: Wd Wd 1 1 0 1 1 0.
11:21 PM IST: Another good over from Imran Tahir. Seven runs, without conceding a four. RR were 87/4 after 12 overs. They needed another 89 runs from 48 balls.
Scoring: 1 1 2 1 1 1.
11:16 PM IST: Dwayne Bravo got his first over. And a tidy one from the Trinidadian. Five runs from the over. RR were 80/4 after 11 overs. They need another 95 runs from 53 balls. Game on. Ben Stokes joined Steve Smith in the centre.
Scoring: 1 1 0 1 0 2.
11:12 PM IST: MS Dhoni introduces Imran Tahir, and the South African has got the wicket of Rahul Tripathi. FoW - 75/4 (9.6 Over). Caught and bowled. Huge over. Tripathi made a fluent 39 off 24 with the help of five fours and a six. RR need another 101 runs from 60 balls.
Scoring: 0 0 1 1 1 W.
MS Dhoni introduces Imran Tahir, and the South African has got the wicket of Rahul Tripathi. FoW - 75/4 (9.6 Over). Caught and bowled. Huge over. Tripathi made a fluent 39 off 24 with the help of five fours and a six. RR need another 101 runs from 60 balls.
Scoring: 0 0 1 1 1 W.
11:02 PM IST: Another nine-run over as Mitchell Santner continued with his second over. Rahul Tripathi hit the third ball for a four, through cover. RR were 72/3 after nine overs. Tripathi and Steven Smith have added 58 runs in 36 balls, with 44 of those coming in the last four overs. Time-out.
Scoring: 1 2 4 1 1 0.
10:59 PM IST: First over for Ravindra Jadeja and he's leaked nine runs as RR continued to build the innings. Rahul Tripathi hit the second ball for a four, to deep extra cover. RR were 63/3 after eight overs.
Scoring: 1 4 1 1 0 2.
10:56 PM IST: Deepak Chahar completed his spell of four overs. Nine runs from his last. Five singles then Rahul Tripathi hit the last ball for a four. RR were 54/3 after seven overs. Rajasthan needed another 122 runs from 78 balls.
Scoring: 1 1 1 1 1 4.
10:50 PM IST: Rahul Tripathi has started to take on the bowlers. He welcomed Mitchell Santner with a four, lofting over mid-on. Two dot balls later, he hit the Kiwi for a six, straight into the sightscreen. 17 runs from the over. RR were 454/3 after six overs.
Scoring: 4 0 4Nb 6 1 0 1.
10:43 PM IST: Deepak Chahar continued with his third over. Three dot balls to Rahul Tripathi, then a wide and three singles from the right-arm medium pacer. RR were 28/3 after five overs. They still need another 148 runs from 90 balls.
Scoring: 0 0 0 Wd 1 1 1.
10:39 PM IST: Shardul Thakur had Jos Buttler (6 off 7) caught at mid-on by Dwayne Bravo. FoW - 14/3 (3.1). And that brought Steve Smith in the centre. A four to start his knock, then another from the Aussie. Full toss, and happily put away. 10 runs from the over. RR were 24/3 after four overs.
Scoring: W 1 4 4 0 Wd 0
10:32 PM IST: Sanju Samson (8 off 10), who hit the first century of the season, caught by Suresh Raina. FoW - 14/2 (2.6 Over). Six runs and a wicket from the over. Deepak Chahar's figures so far: 2-1-6-2. Meanwhile, Samson became the youngest to 2000 IPL runs, beating Virat Kohli by 35 days.
Scoring: 4 1 0 0 1 W.
10:26 PM IST: Shardul Thakur shared the new ball with Deepak Chahar. Four off the first ball, hit by Jos Buttler, cut through point. RR were 8/1 after two overs.
Scoring: 4 0 1 0 2 1.
10:21 PM IST: What a start from CSK. The second ball of the innings and RR are on down, thanks to a Ravindra Jadeja stunner. Catch taken at backward point. Ajikya Rahane walked. FoW-0/1 (0.2 Over). Maiden wicket over from Deepak Chahar.
Scoring: 0 W 0 0 0 0.
9:52 PM IST: Dhoni could manage only a single off the first ball. Incredible shot from Jadeja. Hit it for a maximum over long on. Six runs. Jadeja heaved again but only managed only a single. Back-to-back sixes from MSD. Whistle Podu. The captain is ruling the den. Slower one, pulled it over square leg. And he hoisted the next one over long off. Last ball and MSD finished it with a six. It was a slow ball and it sailed over long on. MSD no wonder took the game till the end, took it deep and then strangled the opposition at the end. Big big over for CSK here. Absolute brilliance and fierce stuff from MSD, the Finisher. Three sixes on the trot. He remained unbeaten on 75 of 46. This was the 61st time that he remained unbeaten in the IPL. CSK finished at 175/5 after 20 overs. Target 176.
Scoring: 1 6 1 wd 6 6 Wd 6.
VINTAGE MAHI! Read the situation well and took his time.
FIFTY!— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) March 31, 2019
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9:45 PM IST: Dhoni guides it to the backward point region. Four runs. 21st IPL fifty for MSD. Vintage stuff from the Master. Bravo goes for a pull shot, holes out at long on. Bravo gone for 27. FoW 144/5 (18.3). Jadeja comes in. The batsmen take three singles. CSK were 147/5 after 19 overs.
Scoring: 4 1 W 1 1 1 .
9:40 PM IST: Kulkarni is in for the 18 th over. Bravo takes a single off the first ball. Dhoni charges down the pitch and picks up a couple at deep square leg. A wide ball. Followed by a high full toss above the waist outside the off stump. It is a no ball. And MSD hits the free hit for a six at deep extra cover and Chepauk go crazy. Wide full toss and MSD is not going to miss out on the freebie. Dhoni goes for a pull and manages only a single. Interruption again. change of ball. Bravo joins the party. A four of a streaky top edge. And a Six over deep extra cover! Typical Bravo stuff. CSK were 139/4 after 18 overs.
Scoring: 1 2 wd 2nb 6 1 4 6.
9:35 PM IST: Archer is back. A lot of dew at Chepauk today. A single of the first ball. And a leg cutter from Archer and MSD places it between short third man and backward point for a boundary. Touch of class written all over it. Slower ball and MSD pushes it for a single to mid off. Single from Bravo again. CSK are unable to find the boundaries. A slow bouncer and Dhoni leaves it to the Keeper. CSK were 115/4 after 17 overs.
Scoring: 1 4 0 1 1 0.
9:30 PM IST: Unadkat comes in for his third over. MSD picks a single and CSK reach the 100 mark. It is time to press the accelerator now. On the pads, and Bravo picks up a couple at square. Brilliant running by the veterans. In fact Legends. A single down the third man. And a couple again for MSD this time. Swift running. knocks it to backward point and paces for a two. Easy two in the end. MSD makes it look so easy. A risky single and MSD makes it. Down the leg and it is a wide. Single off the last ball. Bravo will keep the strike. CSK were 108/4 after 16 overs.
Scoring: 1 2 1 2 1 wd 1.
9:25 PM IST: Stokes in again. Powerful shot towards cover. Gowtham gets a hand. Brilliant fielding. Almost pulled off a catch. Saved a boundary there. Just one run in the end. Short ball and Bravo goes over extra cover for a four. Two dot balls. Then a couple. And a boundary over the point of the last ball. Bowled outside off and Bravo is not going to miss that. CSK were 99/4 after 15 overs.
Scoring: 1 4 0 0 2 4.
9:15 PM IST: Slower bouncer from Unadkat. Dhoni walks down hits it straight for a four. Takes a single at short third man of the next one. Raina is beaten by the slower one and he is bowled. Raina goes for 36(32). FoW 88/4 (13.4). Change of pace does the trick. Bravo come in and plays down two balls quietly. CSK were 88/4 after 14 overs. Time out. The 61 run stand is broken.
Scoring: 4 1 0 W 0 0.
9:10 PM IST: Stokes in again. Good over from the Englishman. Just 5 runs of the over. He is mixing it up well. The pitch is offering some odd bounce. Dhoni beaten. CSK were 83/3 after 13 overs.
Scoring: 1 1 0 0 2 1.
9:05 PM IST: Unadkat introduced into the attack. Raina picks a single off the first ball. Short ball and Dhoni pulls it to the fence at Backward square leg. on the thighs, and Dhoni picks two runs. Definitely, this guy is defining fitness to the next level. A single. And once again down the leg and Raina glides it to the fence at fine leg. CSK were 78/3 after 12 overs.
Scoring: 1 0 4 2 1 4.
9:00 PM IST: Gopal again. Raina goes big. He has smashed it for a maximum. Moved his front leg away and the ball went sailing into the stands. 5 singles of the next five balls. Good comeback from Gopal. Kept it straight and simple. The Run rate is 6 runs per over. CSK will have to up the ante now. CSK were 66/3 after 11 overs.
Scoring: 6 1 1 1 1 1 .
8:55 PM IST: Elegant Raina! went inside out over the covers for a boundary. The pitch is turning. Raina hits one past the cover fielders, picks up 2. A single of a streaky edge. And MSD hits one past the bowler and takes a single. Full toss and Raina hits it to the long off for a single. Raina will keep the strike. CSK were 55/3 after 10 overs.
Scoring: 4 0 4 Wd 1 1 1 .
8:50 PM IST: Gopal again. He is mixing it up with the sliders and the googly. 7 runs off the over. A short ball and Raina places it behind point as the ball runs down to the boundary. CSK were 45/3 after 9 overs. Time out
Scoring: 0 1 1 4 0 1.
8: 47 PM IST: Gowtham is in. Spin attack from Rahane. 4 runs off the over. Well bowled from Gowtham. MSD and Raina are rotating the strike. Seems a slow wicket again. CSK were 38/3 after 8 Overs.
Scoring: 1 1lb 1 0 0 1.
8:40 PM IST: Rahane brings in leggie Shreyas Gopal. The plan will be to attack MSD. A couple of balls down the leg and dhoni taps it for two runs on both the occasion. MSD is walking down the track to negotiate the spin. MSD defends a couple of balls. Takes a single off the last ball. CSK were 34/3 after 7 overs.
Scoring: 2 2 0 0 0 1.
8:37 PM IST: Archer to Raina. No run. Taps one down to the square leg for a single.defendsdefnds and he nearly chopped it on. Lucky. He taps it for single to square leg. Great Over from Archer. CSK were 29/3 after 6 overs.
Scoring: 0 0 1 0 1 0.
8:32 PM IST: A couple of dot balls. Raina is beaten with the change of pace. The slowness of the pitch is causing some extra bounce. Bouncer and it kisses the top edge and flies over the keeper for a boundary. Lucky for Raina. A big reckless drive from Kedar Jadhav and he's nicked it to the wicket keeper Butler. Jadhav out for 8. FoW 27/3(4.5) Dhoni walks in and cautiously leaves the ball to the keeper. CSK were 27/3 in 5 overs.
Scoring: 0 0 4 1 W 0.
8:23 PM IST: Stokes introduced. And Watson smashed the second ball out of the park for a maximum. Watson departs as he finds Archer at short third man. He departs for 13 off 13. FoW 14/2 (3.4). Jadhav walks in and pulls two short-pitched balls to the fence. CSK were 22/2 after 4.
Scoring: 0 6 0 W 4 4.
8:15 PM IST: Kulkarni in again.Watson given out caught down the leg side. He reviews. No bat there. Brushed the thigh pads. Watson pulled one into the fence. 4 runs. Get a couple through the covers. The outfield seems slow. Raina drives one to the covers. No runs. CSK were 8/1 after 3 Overs.
Scoring: 0 0 4 2 1 0.
8:10 PM IST Archer introduced for the 2nd over. Rayudu goes for a drive, could not go past the cover fielders. 4 dot balls on the trot. Rayudu is hit with a rising delivery. He has taken a blow on his forearm, The physio is in and he seems fine. Rayudu has been dismissed of the last ball. That was a leg cutter and Rayudu holes it to the wicketkeeper Butler trying to glide it down the third man. Rayudu gone for 1. FoW1/1(1.6) CSK were 1/1 after 2 overs.
scoring: 0 0 0 0 0 W.
8:04 PM IST: Rayudu and Watson have come to open the innings. Kulkarni bowled the first over. He's bowling wicket to wicket. Well defended by Rayudu. He took a single off the second ball as he glided it down to the third man. Watson went for a cut and he misses it. He plays one to the covers and no runs. CSK were 1/0 after 1 over.
Scoring: 0 1 0 0 0 0.
7:50 PM IST: Samson looked in prime touch when he brought up his century against SRH. It was unfortunate that he ended on the losing side. RR will have to make amends and get a win under their belt. They are against the Defending champions but RR have the required ammo in their armour to upset CSK.
7:40 PM IST: RR have won the toss and they opt to bowl. Rahane, who is unsure about how the Wicket is going to behave, without hesitation decided to bowl. Same team for RR. CSK have one change, Mitchell Santner comes in for Harbhajan Singh. Two left arm spinners Jadu and Santner and the old-wily Leggie Imran Tahir. Dhoni loves to play around with spinners. Doesn't he? RR to Bowl first.
Here are the playing Eleven.
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
7:10 PM IST: While RR has lost both their previous matches, Dhoni's CSK has been carrying their prime form since the last edition's championship and have made it two wins out of two outings. The winning streak for CSK from last year's IPL continues to 5 games. Will the Royals put an end to CSk's streak at CSK's very own fortress. 20 minutes left for the toss. And the Chennai crowd is buzzing awaiting live action.
7:00 PM IST: Welcome back to Chennai. While the Chepauk wicket received a lot of criticism for its slow nature especially after the low scoring match between CSK and RCB on the opening day of this edition of IPL; It is to be seen what the pitch has to offer today. We are back at Chennai's den. It' s Chennai Super Kings Vs Rajasthan Royals! will it be CSk's Whistle Podu or Rajasthan's Halla Bol. Stay tuned..
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (c & wk), Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Murali Vijay, Kedar Jadhav, Sam Billings, Ravindra Jadeja, Dhruv Shorey, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Rituraj Gaikwad, Dwayne Bravo, Karn Sharma, Imran Tahir, Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell Santner, Shardul Thakur, Mohit Sharma, K M Asif, David Willey, Deepak Chahar, N Jagadeesan (wk).
Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane (c), Steve Smith, Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler (wk), Ashton Turner, Ish Sodhi, Oshane Thomas, Liam Livingstone, Sanju Samson, Shubham Ranjane, Stuart Binny, Shreyas Gopal, Sudhesan Midhun, Jaydev Unadkat, Prashant Chopra, Mahipal Lomror, Aryaman Birla, Riyan Parag, Dhawal Kulkarni, Krishnappa Gowtham, Varun Aaron, Shashank Singh, Manan Vohra, Rahul Tripathi.