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Royals dent Super Kings hopes

A magnificent 91 from just 51 deliveries from Graeme Smith helped propel the Rajasthan Royals a 10 run victory over the Chennai Super Kings at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

Chasing a mammoth target of 212 runs to win, Chennai kept the momentum through-out the chase but failed to register the much needed victory to secure a place in the semis.

Earlier, Graeme Smith led a batting assault with a blistering 51-ball 91, backed up by an equally explosive 28-ball 53 by Kamran Akmal, helped table toppers Rajasthan Royals post a huge 211 for 5 in their Indian Premier League match against Chennai Super Kings on Saturday.

Electing to bat after winning the toss, the rampaging Royals, who rested four players to bring in new faces, sent Super Kings bowlers for a leather hunt for most part of match.

Smith and Swapnil Asnodkar plundered 127 runs for the first wicket, second highest IPL opening stand, from just 67 balls to lay the foundation for a big total.

The duo were in such an attacking mood that they reached 50-run mark in just 4.5 overs and coasted to 100 in 9.4 overs.

The home team had to toil till the 12th over for their first success when Asnodkar was run out for 41 (27 ball; 5X4, 2X6), failing to beat an MS Dhoni-Parthiv Patel combine.

Smith continued in his attacking mode but was unlucky to miss a hundred by nine runs after batting so beautifully. He fell to part timer Suresh Raina while trying for a lofted drive for Dhoni to hold a fine catch after running from cover region.

Smith's superb 91 came off 51 balls with the help of nine fours and a six.

The next two batsmen - Yusuf Pathan (6) and Mohd. Kaif (10) - did not contribute much, both falling to Albie Morkel and the run rate dipped as the visitors scored just 44 from the last five overs.

Pakistani Kamran Akmal, who had not done much in the tournament so far, then smashed 53 (28 balls; 3x6; 4x4) to take the score past 210.

Morkel was the most successful Chennai bowler with 2 for 35 while Raina claimed one wicket for 20.

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