MS Dhoni won the toss and elected to field first on a small ground at Sharjah.
It was a big surprise to see Steve Smith open the batting for Rajasthan Royals, but it was a positive move. Young Jaiswal played a good pull shot off Chahar but was dismissed immediately after that. The Royals looked scratchy for the first 3-4 overs but after that Samson got going and then there was no looking back. It was raining sixes at Sharjah as Samson smashed 9 sixes in his innings of 74 off just 32 balls. Steve Smith gave him very good support by giving him strike and getting the boundaries when required. Once Samson was dismissed, CSK pulled it back well with wickets but Ngidi conceded 30 runs off the last over that Jofra Archer smashed all over the place hitting 4 sixes in a row which took the Royals to 216 in 20 overs.
CSK’s chase was one of the most bizarre chases. Watson tried his best and took on the bowling early on but Vijay was not able to get going. Once both openers were dismissed after the powerplay, CSK didn’t get much going in the middle overs. Sam Curran who was promoted at 4 was able to get a few shots away but there was nothing much from the other batsman. Gaikwad had a forgettable debut getting out off the first ball. MS Dhoni came out to bat at 7 and did not show any intent. Faf Du Plessis was able to get going and started hitting sixes at will in the end. But it was too much left to do and the Royals won the match by 16 runs.
Game Changing Moments
Piyush Chawla’s first two overs got the Royals 47 runs. Sanju Samson’s brilliant innings where he smashed 9 sixes took the game away from CSK.
The 20th over of first innings in which 30 runs were conceded helped Rajasthan get well past the 200 mark and made it a very difficult chase. The first 2 legal deliveries went for 27 runs which hurt them.
Rahul Tewatia’s 3 wickets in the middle overs sealed the game for RR.
Areas to Focus
Dhoni didn’t really have a great day as captain today. Giving a second over to Chawla at that stage didn’t seem the right thing to do when Samson was so comfortable against him. These 2 overs cost CSK 47 runs which put them on the back foot.
Bowling No-balls is a controllable which Ngidi missed out twice in the last over and he had to pay a heavy price for it.
CSK’s batting approach was questionable and bizarre. It looked like they had given up the chase much before the game was done which is not what fans expect to see in IPL. From overs 7-14, they scored just 62 runs at a run rate of 7.75 chasing 217 which is where CSK gave away the match. At this stage, even Fat Du Plessis didn’t look to get going as he was scoring only 17 from 18 balls.
MS Dhoni should have come out to bat ahead of Ruturaj Gaikwad and Kedar Jadhav in order to make a match out of it which did not happen.
This clearly shows that rustiness and lack of match practice for the CSK players is a big factor and they will have to get to their best sooner rather than later to make it to the playoffs.
Jofra Archer was used at crucial points and he was able to squeeze the batsman. When CSK were desperate to get off to a flyer, he bowled the first 2 overs in the powerplay conceding just 9 runs. He also came back to bowl the 16th over when Fat Du Plessis was looking to shift to top gear and just conceded 7 runs. He was once again brought into the attack in the 19th over which is when CSK were looking for a 25 runs over, but he just conceded 10 runs and picked up the wicket of Du Plessis which sealed the game. Hence the 3 sixes which Dhoni was able to hit in the last over did not make much off a difference.