(The Times Of India)
An inspired bowling effort by Johan Botha and a late surge by Ajinkya Rahane (52 off 36) was all Rajasthan Royals had to offer on Monday night.
The home team’s plan to give an ideal send-off to captain Shane Warne was spoiled by MS Dhoni and his Men in Yellow.
Eventually, a rather daunting target of 197 put up by Chennai Super Kings proved too much for the Royals as they crumbled to a 63-run defeat at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium on Monday.
Doug Bollinger grabbed three wickets and R Ashwin two as Royals were bowled out for 133.
A new pitch, which had a lot more bounce than the one used for earlier matches, and Dhoni’s blitz towards the end of the Chennai innings, meant that the Royals had an extremely difficult task when openers Rahul Dravid and Shane Watson walked out to bat.
They had to score at close to 10 runs per over. Pressure was on the home team, which enjoy chasing.
Royals skipper Shane Warne had opted to chase on winning the toss. As wickets kept tumbling, the contest was over long before the end.
For Dhoni, setting the stage on fire isn’t an unfamiliar act. On Monday, he did an encore. His knock of 41 off just 19 balls, punctuated by three fours and three sixes, took CSK to 196 for three and perfectly complemented Murali Vijay’s 53.
On a new pitch – used for the first time in four years – Warne wouldn’t have expected this.
What looked quite significant at the toss was the two captains pinpointing the impact that the shorter boundaries at one end of the ground could create.
The CSK openers, Michael Hussey and Vijay, made sense of this statement, smashing the ball around.
A lacklustre bowling effort from the Royals, backed up by some sloppy fielding, aided them.