Royals cruise to comprehensive victory
The Rajasthan Royals increased their winning streak to four games after a comprehensive 17 run victory over the Chennai Super Kings thanks to a fine innings of 80 from Naman Ojha.
The Royals opener scored an IPL career best of 80 from just 49 balls to help the Royals set the Super Kings a target of 178 after Shane Warne won the toss and decided to bat first at the at a hot and sticky Sardar Patel Stadium.
After the Royals struggled against the Super Kings spinners Warne opened the attack with the slow spin bowling of Pathan and the plan worked to perfection as the Super Kings were unable to launch their run chase at a rapid pace.
Pathan struck in the third over taking the wicket of the Matthew Hayden (19) with a brilliant diving catch off his own bowling to leave the Super Kings 24-1.
The lost of Hayden brought Suresh Raina to crease and he built a brilliant 2nd wicket partnership with Murali Vijay as the Super Kings fought back.
Vijay started the blitz smashing 24 runs off Sumit Narwal which included two big sixes in the fourth over as the visitors raced past 50.
Their partnership had reached 51 before Pathan produced a piece of brilliant fielding running out Vijay (42) with a direct hit from square leg to leave the Super Kings 75-2.
Shane Warne struck an over later to remove Raina (14) as the Super Kings lost two quick wickets in the space of 7 balls to waste the contribution made by Vijay and Raina.
The Royals increased their grip on the game as the boundaries dried up and the run rate increased as the home team could start to sense a victory.
Albie Morkel offered some hope for the Super Kings smashing three consecutive sixes of Warne in the 17th over to leave the visitors needing another 27 runs from the last 12 balls.
Shaun Tait responded in brilliant fashion dismissing Badrinath with the first ball of the 18th before picking up the wicket of Morkel (28) who was caught by Faiz Fazal to secure the victory for the Royals.
The Super Kings went into the last 5 overs needing another 59 runs for victory and the pressure started to show as MS Dhoni and Subramaniam Badrinath crashed into each other attempting a quick single which result in Dhoni (21) being run out.
Having won the toss and elected to bat the Royals got off to an electrifying start thanks to Michael Lumb who smashed Albie Morkel for a six over long-on from just the third delivery of the day to signal his intent on attacking from the start.
Lumb carried on his blitz finding the boundary on 3 more occasions before he hit Morkel for another huge six which sailed over the boundary as the Englishman raced to 30 from just 16 balls.
It proved to be his last contribution as Morkel hit back with the very next ball forcing Lumb into a mistake as he misjudged a slower ball and lobbed an easy catch up to Thilan Thushara at mid of.
The fireworks continued for the Royals with Lumbís opening partner Ojha picking up from where Lumb left of smashing Muttiah Muralitharan for a big six over mid wicket as the Indian youngster past 50 of just 32 balls.
The Royals raced past 100 before the Super Kings struck back taking the wicket of Faiz Fazal (17) before danger man Yusuf Pathan (8) was caught by Suresh Raina at short cover to give Shadab Jakati his second wicket of the innings.
Having taken two quick wickets the Super Kings used spinners Muralitharan and Jakati to slow the Royals run rate down after such a rapid start as Dhoniís side fought their way back into the game.
Having survived a run out chance Adam Voges played a perfect supporting roll allowing Ojha (80) to remain on strike as much as possible during the final 6 over until he was caught by Joginder Sharma to bring an end to his marvellous innings.
Voges (20) soon followed after being caught by Muralitharan to give Morkel his second wicket of the innings as the Royals started to stumble in the last the last few overs losing 5 wickets.
Abhishek Jhunjhunwala (11) ensured the home side reached 177-8 which was 20 more runs then Shane Warne predicted at the toss but they will have been disappointed not to have reached 200 after such a good start.