Former champions Rajasthan Royals (RR) yesterday registered a convincing seven-wicket win over three-time winners Chennai Super Kings (CSK), a result that lifted them from the bottom of the table and kept them afloat in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
While the verdict catapulted RR to the fifth spot on the points table — thanks to Jos Buttler’s 48-ball 70 not out and fast bowler Jofra Archer’s miserly spell — the defeat pushed the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led CSK to the brink of elimination.
Chasing CSK’s 125 for five wickets in 20 overs, RR finished at 126 for three wickets in 17.3 overs.
RR rose from the bottom of the table to the fifth spot after they won yesterday with 2.3 overs to spare, thanks to Jos Buttler’s 48-ball 70 not out. Steve Smith’s team are now back in the race to qualify for the playoffs.
The top four teams on the points table qualify for the playoffs after each team has played 14 matches each in the league phase.
CSK have looked under the weather this season and the defeat at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium has pushed them to the bottom of the points table with six points. While Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab too have six points each, they have better net run rate.
CSK will now have to win all four matches and pray to qualify for the playoffs - a task that seems extremely difficult, but mathematically not impossible.
CSK had won the toss and batted in a match that was Dhoni’s 200th in the IPL, but some quality bowling by RR restricted them for a paltry 125 for 5.
Ravindra Jadeja was the top-scorer for CSK with an unbeaten 35 while Dhoni managed 28.
CSK were once reeling at 56/4 in 10 overs before Dhoni and Jadeja stitched 51 runs for the fifth wicket, helping their side cross the three-digit mark.
For RR, Kartik Tyagi, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal and Rahul Tewatia picked a wicket each.
Chasing a meagre 126-run target, RR endured some early blows. However, Buttler’s blistering 70 not out snatched a much-needed win for his side.
RR lost the wickets of Ben Stokes (19), Robin Uthappa (4), and Sanju Samson (0) with just 28 runs on board. It was Deepak Chahar who came with two of the three early breakthroughs, accounting for the wicket of Stokes and Samson.
Josh Hazlewood picked Uthappa, who was caught behind by Dhoni. With the fantastic one-handed catch of Uthappa, Dhoni also completed 150 dismissals in IPL.
Despite the hiccups, an unbeaten 98-run stand between Buttler and skipper Smith (26) was enough to steer RR home with 15 balls to spare.
Buttler’s match-winning knock was decorated with seven boundaries and two sixes. He was named the Man of the Match.
Brief scores: Chennai Super Kings 125 for 5 wkts (R Jadeja 35 not out, MS Dhoni 28, S Curran 22; S Gopal 1 for 14, R Tewatia 1 for 18, J Archer 1 for 20) lost to Rajasthan Royals 126 for 3 in 17.3 overs (J Buttler 70 not out; D Chahar 2 for 18) by seven wickets
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