Jaipur: Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s brutal assault and Murali Vijay’s brisk fifty was backed up by some sensible bowling as Chennai Super Kings outplayed Rajasthan Royals by 63 runs in their Indian Premier League (IPL) match here on Monday.
After Chennai rode on Dhoni’s onslaught towards the end to post a formidable 196 for three, the bowlers led by Doug Bollinger’s three for 22, bundled out Rajasthan for 133 to more or less seal a play-off berth.
With seven wins from 11 matches, Chennai are now second with 14 points.
Apart from Dhoni’s 19-ball 41, Michael Hussey (46 of 30) and Suresh Raina (43 off 27), too, impressed with their innovative strokeplay after Vijay laid the platform with a blazing 53 off 40 balls after rival skipper Shane Warne put the visitors in.
During his brief stay at the wicket, Dhoni smashed three sixes and as many fours. While Vijay scored two fours and three sixes, Hussey hit eight boundaries. Raina found the fence six times.
Ajinkya Rahane top-scored for the hosts with an entertaining 52 off 36 balls. Chasing a mammoth target, Rajasthan needed a flying start but neither Shane Watson nor Rahul Dravid lasted enough.
If the early dismissals of the two openers were not enough, Rajasthan were dealt a telling blow when Albie Morkel accounted for the dangerous Ross Taylor.
Barring Taylor, the batsmen that followed the openers lacked experience of playing under pressure, but Rahane proved to be an exception.
The hosts were in the doldrums at 70 for four in the 10th over and while he could not really threaten the Chennai outfit, Rahane, one can say, tried to save Rajasthan from embarrassment in front of the home crowd.
During his stay at the crease, Rahane played some effective as well as beautiful shots that for a brief while, revived hopes of a turnaround.
Rahane made his intention clear by hitting Dwayne Bravo for two consecutive boundaries in the fifth over of the innings. The cut in front of point, which raced to the boundary in no time, was a treat to watch.
Rahane then swept Ravichandran Ashwin past short fine leg, but the bowler fought back strongly to signal the end of Watson three deliveries later.
Trying to go for a sweap to a tossed-up ball, Watson only managed a top edge, which Shadab Jataki accepted, though after a fumble.
A couple of quiet overs later, Morkel removed Taylor with a full, widish delivery.
The hosts slipped further as Ashwin had Ashok Menaria caught behind with a slow and a short-of-a-length delivery.
Rahane, at the other hand, found the ropes with ease as Rajasthan trotted towards the 100-run mark.