Yet another nail-biting game of this season. It cannot get more tensed and dramatic than it happened last night at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur. It was the clash between the Yellow Army (CSK) and the Royals (RR). It was one of those games which the fan of this sports would not forget for a long time to come, not just because the match was close, but we also witnessed the ‘Angry Young Man’ side of MS for the first time ever.
CSK won the toss and chose to field, given the fact that the wicket was good and there could have been the dew factor as the game progressed. You don’t normally fix things, if it is not broken and that is exactly what CSK does with its team, as always they don’t believe in making many changes to their winning squad. The only change for CSK was M Santner played in place of Harbhajan Singh. Rajasthan Royals made few changes, Sanju Samson was fit and back in the team along with Jaydev Unadkat and the debutant Riyan Parag.
Chennai Super Kings (Playing XI): Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni(w/c), Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, Mitchell Santner, Shardul Thakur, Imran Tahir
Rajasthan Royals (Playing XI): Ajinkya Rahane(c), Jos Buttler(w), Steven Smith, Sanju Samson, Rahul Tripathi, Ben Stokes, Riyan Parag, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat, Dhawal Kulkarni
Royals were off to a decent start with Rahane and Buttler trying to make the best out of the powerplay, before Ajinkya was judged LBW on the bowling of Deepak Chahar. Jos Buttler lost his control as well, as he tried to hit the ball over mid-wicket region for a six, but the shot was only good enough to fall in hands of Rayudu at the fence in the 4th over of the game. The other players could not manage to get to a good partnership as a result of which RR kept on losing their wickets one after the other. RR managed to get 151 runs on the board at the end of the innings, credit to cameo played by Shreyas Gopal (19 off 7 Balls).
Rajasthan Fall of Wickets:
31-1 (Ajinkya Rahane, 2.5), 47-2 (Jos Buttler, 3.4), 53-3 (Sanju Samson, 5.2), 69-4 (Rahul Tripathi, 8.5), 78-5 (Steven Smith, 10.5), 103-6 (Riyan Parag, 14.6), 126-7 (Ben Stokes, 18.2)
Chennai was asked to chase more than 150 only for the second time in this season, not to forget the last time they lost to Mumbai Indians while they needed to chase the similar target. It didn’t start off well for CSK, credit to some brilliant fielding efforts by the Rajasthan Royals. Shane Wattson was dismissed in the very first over of the innings by Dhawal Kulkarni at an individual and team score of 0. Raina was run out in the very next over, credit to the brilliant throw from Jofra Archer. Faf and Kedar Jadhav couldn’t do much as well and CSK had lost 4 wickets in the power play at a score of 24 runs. It felt to be a tough chase after losing early wickets, but the game was not over if MS Dhoni had to come to bat. Mahi along with Rayudu started off the way as he is always known for, building the innings with his own calculations. The partnership ensured that the required run rate was never out of reach, as the duo brought the match back to the situation from where CSK got its hope of winning the game. Rayudu scored a brilliant 57 off 47 balls before he got out to Ben Stokes in the 18th over. MS continued to bat with his calculator in the brain running at super-fast level, where one can say he had visualised the run chase and he knew exactly how to finish things off. CSK needed 18 off the last over with MS and Sir Jadeja on the crease. Ben Stokes had to bowl the last over, because MS had scored about 60 runs in the last 3 overs, when CSK played against RR at chepuak this season on the bowling of Kulkarni & Unadkat. The first ball from Stokes was hit for a Six by Jadeja in his own style, where he lost his control and was on the ground after hitting the short and Stokes at the other end also lost his control and was on the ground watching the ball flying out of the fence. The next delivery was a no ball as Stokes over stepped the line and Jadeja managed to run for a single as well. Dhoni managed 2 runs on the next ball of the over and now the equation was 8 needed off 4 balls. With MS on the strike it looked not too difficult for the CSK fans, but then came the twist which RR wanted and Dhoni was bowled out by Ben Stokes off a brilliant Yorker. Mahi scored 58 off 43 balls. It felt as if it could be a game for either side to win as Santner walked on the crease to bat. And then started the drama on the field, Stokes bowled to Santner which in the first look to the naked eye appeared above the waist line and hence a No-Ball was signalled by Ulhas Gandhe (The Main Umpire at the bowling end), and Santner managed to get 2 runs off the same ball. So, the calculation now meant 5 runs off 3 balls!! But no, Bruce Oxenford (the leg umpire) cancelled the No-Ball signal given by Ulhas Gandhe which meant 6 off 2 balls for CSK to win. It was great chaos on the field where everyone was trying to understand on & off the field whether it had been finally given as a No-Ball or not, Jadeja was chatting with the umpires over the same when we witnessed something like never before, Captain cool Mahi walking on the ground towards the umpire. MS clearly did not look happy with the standard of umpiring and he spoke to the umpires seeking a clarity. Finally, the drama ended, and it was not given as a No-Ball which meant CSK needed 6 off the last 2 balls. Santner managed to get 2 runs of the next ball from Stokes which brought the equation to 4 off the last ball. Stokes under pressure couldn’t control his line and the next delivery was a wide-ball which meant 3 off the last ball. The last ball was smoked down the ground for a Six by Santner as CSK registered their 6th victory of the season and being on the top of the points table yet again.
CSK Fall of Wickets:
0-1 (Shane Watson, 0.4), 5-2 (Suresh Raina, 1.5), 15-3 (Faf du Plessis, 3.6), 24-4 (Kedar Jadhav, 5.5), 119-5 (Ambati Rayudu, 17.4), 144-6 (MS Dhoni, 19.3)
This game certainly would be talked about for a long time because of all the drama which was witnessed in the game. One must admit that the level of umpiring has not been as per the ICC standards. It was not for the first time in this season where the umpiring standard has become questionable!! It also would be debatable whether MS should have walked on the field after the umpiring confusion, irrespective of whether you agree or not to his behaviour the fact of the matter is everyone wants to see a fair game of 40 overs and see the best team of the day winning the game. This gully level umpiring standard cannot be accepted, and ICC should and must take an account of this for the right spirit of the game. It was another win for the Yellow army as Mahi once again proved that if you focus on the basics of the game, you end up on the winning side often!!
Man Of the Match: Mahendra Singh Dhoni