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Chennai Super Kings earn a 'royal' win

Chennai Super Kings recorded a crucial four-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals in a rain interrupted match Thursday, to keep their hopes alive of securing a playoff berth in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Tight bowling and rain interventions at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium helped the Super Kings restrict Rajasthan to 126 for six.

Then while chasing, Super Kings, who needed 47 off the last four overs, rode on the heroics of Srikanth Anirudha and Albie Morkel, who struck unbeaten 18 each, to get home safely with 11 balls to spare.


Chennai Super Kings players celebrate the fall of a Rajasthan wicket. Pic/AFP 

The duo stitched a 43-run partnership off just 11 balls between the two took the Super Kings to 127 for six with 11 balls to spare. The win took Chennai Super Kings to fourth position in the table.

Chasing a meagre target, the visitors lost opener Murali Vijay, who didn't trouble the scorers, in the first over. Suresh Raina (23) and Michael Hussey (19) had a 35-run stand as they inched towards the target.

Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (10), Dwayne Bravo (10) and Ravindra Jadeja (16) failed to impress as Chennai slumped to 84 for six in the 17th over.

With the situation almost out of control, the turning point came in the 17th over as Pankaj Singh (2-34) gave away 17 runs. The subsequent over by Shane Watson (1-32) leaked 18 runs as Morkel and Srikanth's heroics gave Chennai an unlikely victory.

The pick of the Rajasthan bowlers was Siddharth Trivedi who took two for 18.  

Morkel and Anirudha tore apart the Australian duo of Watson and Shaun Tait to notch up the required runs in 18.1 overs.

By virtue of this win, CSK moved up to the fourth position in the standings with 13 points from as many games, while Rajasthan have slipped to the sixth spot with 12 points from 13 games.

Earlier, title holders Chennai Super Kings produced a disciplined bowling performance to restrict Rajasthan Royals to 126 for six.

Having decided to field, CSK pacer Ben Hilfenhaus (2/8) produced a stunning opening spell to dent Rajasthan's prospects at the start. Hilfenhaus scalped two vital wickets of Rajasthan skipper Rahul Dravid and all-rounder Shane Watson early during his breathtaking opening spell of four overs which yielded just eight runs. Dravid was Hilfenhaus' first victim as he fell in the second over, top-edging one to Michael Hussey at mid-off.

Hilfenhaus then accounted for dangerman Watson cheaply three overs later to derail Rajasthan's innings which was marred by three brief rain interruptions at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium. Watson was brilliantly caught by a diving Ravichandran Ashwin at the third-man boundary as the batsman went for a huge heave over square-leg only to get a leading edge.

In-form Ajinkya Rahane (17) too perished soon in search of quick runs, again caught by Ashwin off Yo Mahesh (2/21) as Rajasthan slipped to 43 for three in the ninth over.

Stuart Binny, however, tried to force a comeback with a fierce counter-attack and thrashed Dwayne Bravo for two boundaries and a six to pick up 18 runs off his opening over. But Binny departed in the next over in search one too many, caught by Suresh Raina off Mahesh.

Brad Hodge and Johan Botha then added 32 runs for the fifth wicket to give impetus to Rajasthan's innings before the two fell in quick succession. While Botha was cleaned up by Ravindra Jadeja, Hodge's 28-ball 33-run knock was cut short by Ashwin. Hodge top-scored for Rajasthan with 33 off 28 balls, while Binny played a vital 18-ball 27-run knock in the middle.  

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