Chennai Super Kings defeated Rajasthan Royals by five wickets in a last-over thriller to ensure a top-spot in the points table. Here are the highlights: (Scorecard | Commentary | Points Table | Schedule):
T20 and Indian Premier League cricket does not need huge scores to entertain. Chennai's match against Rajasthan was a clear example of how relatively low-scoring matches can also be nail-biting contests.
1938 hrs (IST): Dhoni was beaming with his efforts and his team's win. "It was a good performance overall from the team," he said. "It was not easy to hit on this pitch but we managed to win despite some good overs towards the end by Rajasthan."
1935 hrs (IST): Ravindra Jadeja is man of the match for his two wickets and 11 off six balls. His six towards the end was crucial but it was his brief but fiery partnership with Dhoni that aided his side. "Dhoni kept me calm towards the end. It is great to bat with him," said Jadeja at the post-match presentation. "It is always great to come to Ranchi. Whenever I am here, I do well for my side," he added.
1927 hrs (IST): While Dhoni did play a heroic knock, Faulkner and fellow Rajasthan players contributed. The bowling in the final over was mostly ordinary with either full tosses or full deliveries making the task easier for Chennai skipper. The overthrow in the fourth ball finally eased Chennai to their eight win in ten matches as Dhoni and Jadeja ran three runs to script a sensational win.
1925 hrs (IST): Slam-bam and that's the match done - Dhoni style! Chennai skipper smashes a six and Rajasthan fielders panic to gift a 5-wicket win.
1920 hrs (IST):Chennai need 12 in the last over. Can Dhoni and Jadeja set the stage on fire or will Rajasthan claim this to strengthen case for the playoffs?
1915 hrs (IST):It is now Dhoni and Jadeja against an entire battery of Rajasthan bowlers. For the moment, Jadeja wins the duel with a massive six off Cooper.
1910 hrs (IST):OUT! Du Plessis is bowled by Faulkner. An amazing yorker and the batsman had no answer despite batting well for his 38.
1904 hrs (IST): Rajasthan finish some decent overs. Dhoni and du Plessis, for all their talent, skill and repute as formidable hitters, have not got going yet. Expect something to give as Chennai now need 32 from 18.
1855 hrs (IST):OUT! Ranchi cheers a CSK wicket! Not surprising as Ashwin (14) goes for the pull but fails to read the slower ball from Bhatia. His wicket brings local-boy Dhoni to the middle. Chennai need 44 off 31.
1846 hrs (IST):100 up for Chennai. Need 49 in six overs. Credit to Ashwin as he is giving good support to du Plessis.
1830 hrs (IST):OUT! Massive wicket as Dwayne Smith falls on 44. For all his massive shots today, the batsman fails to read a slower delivery from Cooper and scoops it up for the wicketkeeper.
1827 hrs (IST):The power of confidence! Dwayne and Faf are keeping the asking rate in check. Are repeatedly finding boundaries in each over to keep the chase on track. Interestingly, this isn't an overly aggressive batting display, just responsible strikes.
1820 hrs (IST): Dwayne Smith robs two boundaries in Rajat Bhatia's first over of the day. The equation? Chennai need 85 from 72. Did you know? Dwayne Smith is known as CSK's Glenn Maxwell.
1814 hrs (IST): Ankit Sharma completes his quota of four overs. The youngster claims two wickets and gives away just 20 runs. Chennai 52/2 after 7.
1805 hrs (IST): OUT! That's the end of a short stint from Suresh Raina (2). Ankit Sharma has two wickets now. Didn't really deserve the second as it was a poor delivery but Raina's sweep found the fielder at short fine leg.
1800 hrs (IST):The early wicket of McCullum seems to have had no effect on Dwayne Smith who continues to push his way forward. Smashes Pravin Tambe for two back-to-back fours. Has Suresh Raina for company. Chennai 41/1 after 4.
1756 hrs (IST): OUT! McCullum goes for the slog sweep but finds Karun Nair at sqaure leg. A sharp catch there as the ball was struck extremely hard. Ankit Sharma celebrates his first.
1754 hrs (IST): Deadly Dwayne! Opener swings and swings hard to smash Faulkner for two sixes down the ground. Chennai 20/0 after 2.
1750 hrs (IST): Young Ankit Sharma opens once again, this time with the ball. Watson seems to be in the mood to back his spinners to the hilt. For Chennai, usual suspects Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum start with the Kiwi hitting a massive six down the ground.
1745 hrs (IST): Rajasthan batting went from 99/2 in 12.3 to 148/8 after 20. The target may not be a daunting one but the team is playing four spinners!
1733 hrs (IST):Chennai need 149! Mohit Sharma bowls a decent final over to ensure Rajasthan Royals do not breach the 150-run mark. Claims a wicket as well to finish with three. "This is a decent total on this pitch. We will have to bat well to win," he says after the innings when asked what he thought of the target.
1722 hrs (IST):OUT and OUT! Rajasthan have not managed to hit big consistently sinceWatson fell. Faulkner (1) and Binny (22) fall in the same over of Jadeja.
1716 hrs (IST):OUT! In-form Steve Smith (9 off 8) tries one too many cheeky shots. Crafty efforts gift him a four but Mohit Sharma has his revenge after being hit for a four on the off-side. He smashes the stumps as Smith goes for a rather whacky shot. RR: 133/5 after 17.2.
1708 hrs (IST):SIX, SINGLE, WICKET! An eventful over from Badree. He is smashed on the leg-side for an emphatic six by Binny. The batsman follows it up with a single only to have partner Nair (8 off 11) drag one back from outside off stump and 'caress' it onto his own stumps. RR: 114/4 after 15.
1703 hrs (IST):Karun Nair and Stuart Binny in the middle. While Binny has not made a solid mark so far, Nair has had a few powerful knocks to his credit. One was against Delhi Daredevils when he smashed 73*.Read more here...
1656 hrs (IST):SIX, FIFTY and WICKET! Watson (51 off 36) whacks his way to a superb fifty - his second this season and 13th overall. He is bowled off the next Mohit Sharma delivery. Did you know? Watson has credited Dravid for helping him evolve as a cricketer. Read more here...
1652 hrs (IST): Factoid! Watson now is only the second player to have scored 2000 runs and claimed 50 wickets in IPL. RR: 93/2 after 12.
1647 hrs (IST):OUT! Rahane falls to a 'freaky' run-out. He charges down for a single only to be sent back by Watson. The throw reaches before him and Dhoni knocks the bails off.
1643 hrs (IST): Watson on Fire! The Aussie smashes IPL debutant Vijay Shankar for a four and two massive sixes to propel the innings. RR: 84/1 after 10.
1635 hrs (IST):OUT! And that's the end of a fine innings. Ankit Sharma (30 off 27) looks to go over the long-on boundary again but fails to get the required power. Ashwin gets his revenge. RR: 60/1 after 7.5.
1628 hrs (IST): 1st strategic timeout. Solid start from Rajasthan openers. Have posted 50 in the first seven overs.
1623 hrs (IST): Ashwin taken apart! The spinner is brought into the attack but the timing is proven wrong as an aggressive Ankit Sharma smashes two fours and a six in his over. RR: 42/0 after 6.
1615 hrs (IST): Mohit Sharma is welcomed with two boundaries in his first over of the day. Ankit Sharma gets into the action and plays two exquisite shots on the offside. RR: 24/0 after 4.
1607 hrs (IST): SIX! First massive hit off the day and Watson makes his presence known in the second over. Rajasthan skipper smashes Ishwar Pandey over long-on boundary. RR: 8/0 after 2.
1600 hrs (IST):Watson and Ankit Sharma open for Rajasthan. Each take a single off the first over from Samuel Badree. RR: 2/0 after 1.
1555 hrs (IST):Did you know? Rajasthan are playing four spinners in this match. With Cooper and Ankit joining Tambe and Bhatia, the strategy is clear - spin the oppositon out on a track which appears slow.
1545 hrs (IST): Weather update: It is currently 39C in Ranchi but low humidity comes as a relief to both teams. Dhoni feels this one factor may help both teams play better cricket.
1538 hrs (IST): Squads:
Chennai: D Smith, B McCullum, S Raina, du Plessis, MS Dhoni, R Jadeja, V Shankar, R Ashwin, I Pandey, M Sharma, S Badree
Rajasthan: A Rahane, K Nair, S Watson, S Binny, D Yagnik, S Smith, J Faulkner, K Cooper, R Bhatia, P Tambe, A Sharma
1535 hrs (IST): Team news: Rajasthan have three changes in their playing XI - Dishant Yagnik, Ankit Sharma (debut) & Kevon Cooper come in. Chennai play young Vijay Shankar in place of Mithun Manhas.
1530 hrs (IST): Toss! Rajasthan Royals have won the spin and Shane Watson says his side will bat first. He reckons it is a good track to put a splendid show with the bat and add pressure on the opposition when they come out to chase. It is a thought which Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni seems to have pondered on as well. He says he would have chosen to bat too had he won the toss.
Chennai Super Kings would be aiming to go top of the table but a determined Rajasthan Royals stand in the way as the two sides gear up to clash in an IPL match in Ranchi on Tuesday.
Tied on points with Kings XI Punjab, Chennai are second on the table due to a slightly lower net run-rate. Chennai have won seven of their nine games and are aiming for their third title. Rajasthan are not too far behind, occupying the third spot with six wins from nine matches. Given their fine run, both the teams would start as equals in the match even though it was Chennai who came out trumps the first time the two sides came face to face in this season. (Read Full Preview | Video Analysis: Rajasthan Never Panic Under Pressure)
CHENNAI SIGN DAVID HUSSEY
Australian all-rounder David Hussey has been roped in by Chennai Super Kings for the rest of IPL 7 in place of West Indians Dwayne Bravo, who has been ruled out of the T20 tournament due to an injury.
This was disclosed by David's brother Michael Hussey during a flash interview with the official broadcasters at the Mumbai Indians dugout here on Monday. (David Hussey Replaces Dwayne Bravo in CSK)
DRAVID'S ROLE AS A MENTOR
Rajasthan Royals captain Shane Watson said on Monday, having former India skipper Rahul Dravid as team mentor has helped him develop as a cricketer quickly.
"To have Rahul as a mentor is unbelievable. My development is certainly continuing to evolve very quickly because of having him there. For me personally, I am extremely lucky to have him around," Watson told reporters in Bangalore.
"It was also an honour to have played with Dravid in the past," he added.
Talking about James Faulkner, who played a blinder of innings last night against Royal Challengers Bangalore, Watson said the Tasmanian is continuing to evolve as a genuine all rounder for Australia.
"Faulkner has done it for Australia quite a few times - finishing off games against India for Australia in last one-day series here. He has done more consistently for Australia and continues to do it. It is incredible how he is continuing to evolve as a genuine all rounder," he said. (Dravid Helped me Evolve as a Cricketer: Watson)
WHEN FAULKNER DEMOLISHED BANGALORE
It was a familiar sight for Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh as they saw James Faulkner steal victory from the jaws of defeat in Bangalore on Sunday. In October 2013, Faulkner had smashed 56 off 27 balls against India in Mohali to seal an improbable win for the Aussies.
The tournament may have been different, the jerseys might have changed, but the situation was one and the same. Faulkner blazed to a 17-ball 41 not out that ensured Rajasthan Royals would successfully reach their target with five wickets and seven balls to spare.
The 24 year-old Aussie was quick to admit that he chose to take on the seamers after they had been kept quiet by the Bangalore spinners. The plan, Faulkner said, was to stay out in the middle and then go for the big shots. (Faulkner Gives Kohli, Yuvraj a Sense of Deja Vu)