IPL 2021: Rajasthan beat Chennai by seven wickets to keep their playoff hopes alive
It was a true David vs Goliath story. CSK is this team that has already climbed the ladder and is almost resting there for the arrival of its competitors, who are struggling to climb this slippery ladder.
By Vadiraj Kanakagiri
It was a true David vs Goliath story. CSK is this team that has already climbed the ladder and is almost resting there for the arrival of its competitors, who are struggling to climb this slippery ladder. One of those strugglers is Rajasthan. If Chennai had managed to just push the Royals a little bit, they would've fallen out of the league itself. But they held on. They held tight. They didn't let themselves be pushed.
There were star performances galore in the game from both sides. In the first innings, it was the Ruturaj Gaikwad show. This guy is an absolute star. He brought up his maiden ton yesterday in his usual classic fashion. If you are a purist and have watched Ruturaj score a century, you sure would've been served with an amazing dinner yesterday. Not with the food. But with something that'll fill your heart.
On a good wicket for the batsman, Sanju chose to let the opposition in. The ever-impressive opening pair from CSK, Faf and Ruturaj provided a good solid start with no wickets inside the powerplay and posted 44. But the scoring rate was a tad bit slow. Trying to up the ante, Faf ran past a googly from Tewatia and got stumped. Suresh Raina is having one of his nightmarish seasons this season, as he's struggling hard to get them off the square. He was promoted up the order ahead of Moeen Ali, to get back into form moving into the playoffs. But he got out on only his fifth delivery, trying to go for a biggie and slog-swept Tewatia straight into the hands of deep mid.
In came Moeen Ali and started to bludgeon the ball from ball one. Or it seemed as if that was the case in his 17 balls 21. He fell prey to another one of Tewatia's googlies when he was foxed by a wide delivery and got stumped giving Rahul his third. At the other end though, Ruturaj was batting like a dream. He didn't seem too bothered if he couldn't get a boundary away, playing the next one patiently on its merit. His splendid cover drives, gorgeous up and over extra-cover shots, down the track straight hits, all were just exemplary.
On the fall of Rayudu's wicket for a miserly 2, Ravindra Jadeja came in to play the finisher's role. And, oh boy, didn't he provide justice to that tag. He took away all the pressure off Ruturaj to go big in final overs and tonked the balls to all parts. His intelligent self was on display there, as he manoeuvred the field like a master. In the last over, when Gaikwad was on 95, Jaddu kept smashing boundaries one after the other. He took a special liking to the Fizz, hitting him for three consecutive boundaries, two fours and a six. On the fourth ball, he took a single and gave the chance to Gaikwad to get to his ton. The Fizz bounced one over the batter on the fifth and it was deemed good.
On the last delivery, Ruturaj stood still to a length delivery and smashed it deep into the deep mid-wicket stands. The moment the ball left the bat, he knew, the bowler knew, the whole stadium, even the people watching on TV knew that it's a monster that's going over the ropes comfortably. He soon put both his hands up in the air, turned to his team's dugout, and thanked the heavens. The satisfaction that was on display in his face was immense.
Chasing a high score, the Royals came out all guns blazing. It was a do or die situation for them and they decided to do it before dying. Both the openers Lewis and Jaiswal took a special liking to the international opening bowlers for their respective countries, Josh Hazelwood and Sam Curran. Both bowled some horrid lengths and kept pitching it short hoping for a miscue. But it was all too easy for this dynamic pair as they kept clearing the ropes with ease. Lewis eventually got out to a short one, caught right on the boundary at long leg, but not before getting the team total to 77 in just 5.2 overs. That was some hitting.
Young Jaiswal wasn't too far from his senior partner was even better than him. He raced to his 50 on just 19 deliveries and put out his attacking mode on display. Both the wickets fell in the space of four runs and Chennai sensed a comeback into the game keeping in mind if they got rid of Samson then, there's not much left in terms of form. But they had another thing coming in the form of Shivam Dube. Ignored for almost the entire season, Dube was itching to go out on the sidelines. He let out his frustration on the Chennai bowlers and muscled deliveries out the ground with his long levers.
He took on just about anybody that came on and raced along to 64 with the help of four fours and as many sixes. Sanju played second fiddle to Dube most of his innings and scored 28 off 24. Another new entrant, Glenn Phillips came in after the fall of Sanju's wicket, and finished things off quite easily with a couple of boundaries. Both Dube and for a little while Phillips batted like they were on top of the table. That's mainly because they haven't been in the eleven while they've lost numerous games.
All in all, in a high scoring encounter, Chennai were demolished. If Chennai's batting was full of class, touch and finesse, the Royals just went with brute force. And it was the latter that had the last laugh.