Chennai Super Kings won the third game and were on top of the table in IPL 2019 after beating Rajasthan Royals at the MA Chidambaram stadium.(Image Credit: Twitter)
MS Dhoni's blazing 75, including three sixes in the final over bowled by Jaydev Unadkat and some calm bowling from Chennai Super Kings' bowlers in the face of a late assault from Ben Stokes (46) gave the defending champions their third straight win in IPL 2019 with a narrow eight-run win against Rajasthan Royals at the MA Chidambaram stadium on Sunday. Dhoni'a late onslaught made the difference after he helped Chennai Super Kings recover from a precarious position and it highlighted yet another dimension to his batting On a slowish Chennai wicket, Rajasthan Royals’ inserted Chennai Super Kings in and the way the innings proceeded for Chennai Super Kings, it looked that Ajinkya Rahane had made the right decision. Rajasthan Royals dented their top-order easily,with Jofra Archer getting rid of Ambati Rayudu after which Ben Stokes accounted for the prized wicket of Shane Watson. Jaydev Unadkat joined in the fun by dismissing Kedar Jadhav, who hit two fours before getting dismissed. However, in a tough situation, tough men stand up and for Chennai Super Kings, MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina did that.
Both batsmen took their time and it was Raina who changed the momentum of the match by smashing two boundaries off Shreyas Gopal and Krishnappa Gowtham. The left-hander was in the zone and he found the boundaries at regular intervals. Just when Chennai Super Kings were beginning to make a revival with a 61-run stand for the fourth wicket, Unadkat bowled Raina for a 32-ball 36.
However, the partnership had given Chennai Super Kings the platform for a final flourish and Dhoni found good company in Dwayne Bravo. The former West Indies all-rounder blasted two boundaries off Ben Stokes and the carnage for Rajasthan Royals began in the 18th over. Dhoni smashed a six off Dhawal Kulkarni's no-ball and Bravo ended the over in grand style by hammering a six and a four. Dhoni notched his half-century in 39 balls but Jofra Archer claimed the wicket of Bravo for 27 off 16 balls. The last over changed the entire complexion of the game with Dhoni slamming three sixes and remaining not out on 75 runs from 46 balls as Unadkat's final over leaked 28 runs and Chennai Super Kings ended on 175/5.
Rajasthan started the run-chase in a rather jittery manner as even they lost three early wickets in Ajinkya Rahane (0), Jos Buttler (6) and Sanju Samson, the centurion from the last game for eight. Rahul Tripathi and Steve Smith put their heads down and stitched together a useful stand of 61 runs in 41 balls. Just when it seemed Rajasthan Royals were on course, Imran Tahir removed Tripathi after the batsman racked up 39 runs from 24 deliveries.
Steve Smith's struggles ended when he was dismissed for 28 off 30 balls. Ben Stokes took charge and played some decent strokes to keep the Royals in the hunt. However, with Rajasthan Royals needing 12 off the last over, Chennai Super Kings got rid Stokes with Dwayne Bravo dismissing him for 46. Jofra Archer kept Rajasthan Royals in the hunt but Bravo held his nerve to give Chennai Super Kings their third straight win in IPL 2019.
Rajasthan Royals will take on Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Sawai Mansingh stadium while Chennai Super Kings will take on Mumbai Indians in their next encounter.