Faf du Plessis stroked his way to a 52-ball 73 but Chennai Super Kings had to wait till the very last ball before eking out a seven-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals in a thrilling Indian Premier League match here on Saturday.
Slow left—arm spinner Brad Hogg gave the visitors their first breakthrough when he had Badrinath stumped by Shreevats Goswami with a ball that had a bit of flight.
The dismissal, though, hardly had any effect on du Plessis as he continued with his attacking game and, along with Suresh Raina, added 61 runs for the second wicket, much to delight of the home crowd.
Raina scored 26 runs in 24 balls and hit three fours.
While he started hitting fours from the second over, du Plessis struck his first six in the seventh over, when Ashok Menaria’s delivery was lofted over the extra—cover region.
The South African struck his second six, against medium pacer Siddharth Trivedi, before Kevon Cooper brought to an end his stay by having the batsman caught by Goswami.
Cooper then sent back Raina, thanks to Ajinkya Rahane’s excellent catch in the deep, but skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja denied the visitors any further success while taking Chennai home.
Earlier, the Super Kings rode on a disciplined bowling display to restrict Rajasthan to a modest total despite a half century by Owais Shah on a swealtering day.
Electing to bat on what looked like a slow pitch, the Rajasthan Royals batsmen started off in brilliant fashion, scoring 15 runs off Dwayne Bravo’s first over.
They were 34 for no loss by the fourth over before Ravichandran Ashwin put the brakes on the scoring rate.
Ashwin gave his team a vital breakthrough when he dismissed an in—form Rahane (15) off the third ball of his spell.
Rahane looked in good nick, opening his account with a straight bat cover drive off Nuwan Kulasekara. The batsman then dismissed Bravo thorough mid—off and pulled the second delivery of his over through the vacant square—leg region to stamp his authority on the Chennai bowlers.
He, however, got out while trying to go over mid—off only managing to give a simple catch to Kulasekara.
Rahane’s dismissal brought Shah in the middle —— the English recruit took seven balls to open his account before hitting Shadab Jakati over the mid—on fence to bring the second six of the innings.
Rahul Dravid, at the other end, was going nicely, hitting three boundaries and a six before his 26—run inning was cut short by Jakati.
With the scorecard reading two for 50 at the end of eighth over, the onus was again on Shah to take his team to a respectable total.
Shah, in the company of Menaria, stitched a 92—run third—wicket partnership off just 65 balls to help the visitors post a modest total. After a sedate start both the batsmen opened up. Menaria, in particular, was lucky to survive the initial few balls from Ashwin.
Shah carried on his good work with yet another substantial knock, which helped his side to a respectable total, but not quite an imposing one.
Rajasthan Royals: 146 for four in 20 overs (Owais Shah 52, Ashok Menaria 36; Shadab Jakati 1/12).
Chennai Super Kings: 147 for three in 20 overs (Faf du Plessis 73, Suresh Raina 26).