Dwayne Smith's sparkling fifty and Ravindra Jadeja's impressive 4-wicket haul helped Chennai Super Kings register a 7-run victory over Rajasthan Royals in Dubai on Wednesday.
Having restricted Chennai to a moderate score of 140, Rajasthan batsmen did put up a fight towards the end but were unable to chase down the target in front of a strong bowling attack at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
The Rajasthan top order failed completely and half of their side was back to the pavilion inside 11 overs. Rajat Bhatia and Dhawal Kulkarni tried their best to hit some quick runs but their effort proved too late.
Jadeja was the main tormentor of Rajasthan batsmen with figures of four for 33 in his four overs, including two crucial wickets of captain
Shane Watson (7) and Sanju Samson (16) from consecutive balls in the seventh over.
Ishwar Pandey, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ben Hilfenhaus and Mohit Sharma chipped in with a wicket each as Chennai bowlers made life difficult for Rajasthan batsmen with a disciplined effort.
Chasing 141 for a win, Rajasthan began on a bright note but lost wickets early on to put themselves on the backfoot. They failed to stitch any substantial partnership with 28 for the ninth wicket being the highest.
Some of the Rajasthan batsmen, including Watson, went for big shots which led to their downfall and inability to save wickets.
From a bright start, Rajasthan were slumped to 57 for four at the halfway mark, needing 85 from the last 10 overs with six wickets in hand.
Any hope of a Rajasthan victory was as good as over after Steven Smith (19) was dismissed in the 13th over. Rajat Bhatia gave some fight with a belligerent 20-ball 23, which was studded with a four and a six but that turned out to be delaying the inevitable.
Earlier, the highly rated Chennai Super Kings top order batting lineup suffered a collapse after opener Dwayne Smith's scintillating display as they could manage 140 for six.
Smith (50) tore into Rajasthan bowling attack with an impressive exhibition of strokeplay at the top but other batsmen failed to capitalise on the strong start after being put into bat.
Brendon McCullum (6), Suresh Raina (4), Faf du Plessis (7) and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (5) were out cheaply on a slow pitch as Chennai, the team which possessed one of the
strongest batting line-ups this season, failed to put up a big score.
But Ravindra Jadeja's unbeaten 36 off 33 balls lower down the order helped Chennai's to reach a moderate total.
Half of their side were back in the pavilion just after the halfway mark as they were reduced to 74 for five in 11.1 overs. Their biggest partnership was between Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin (9 not out), who gathered 39 runs for the seventh wicket.
Smith scored exactly 50 from just 27 balls with the help of six fours and three sixes. He was out in the eighth over off Stuart Binny just after smashing the bowler for a six.
James Faulkner suffered the most from the blade of Smith, who hit four successive boundaries off the bowler in the sixth over which yielded 19 runs.
Rajasthan, however, came back into the match with Rajat Bhatia taking the wicket of Raina. Chennai then lost the wickets of du Plessis and Dhoni in the 11th and 12th overs to find themselves in a precarious position at 74 for five.
Mithun Manhas (10) fell in the 15th over and the responsibility of taking Chennai to a respectable score was left to Jadeja and Ashwin.
For Rajasthan, Rajat Bhatia was the most successful bowler with two wickets for 13 runs. Faulkner, Pravin Tambe and Stuart Binny chipped in with a wicket each.
With inputs from PTI