Rajasthan Beats Chennai, Spoils Dhoni's 200th IPL Appearance
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates: Rajasthan Royals spoiled Mahendra Singh Dhonis landmark 200th appearance in the Indian Premier League by beating sluggish Chennai Super Kings by seven wickets on Monday.
The 39-year-old Dhoni made a run-a-ball 28 before getting run out in Chennais depressing first-up total of 125-5. The men in yellow yet again put up a lacklustre batting performance to remain at the bottom of the table after their seventh loss in 10 matches.
On a double-paced slow pitch, Rajasthan survived a top order collapse and reached 126-3 in 17.3 overs. Englishman Jos Buttler made an unbeaten 70 off 48 balls and dominated a 98-run match-winning stand with captain Steve Smith by hitting seven fours and two sixes.
Buttlers innings took the pressure off me at the other end,” Smith said after his team jumped to fifth. “It was a really good innings on a wicket that wasnt the easiest.
Smith, struggling to get runs, labored to an unbeaten 26 off 34 deliveries but hung in with Buttler after Chennai reduced them to 28-3 inside the first six overs of the batting powerplay.
Dhonis ploy to bowl out his frontline pace bowlers Deepak Chahar and Josh Hazlewood within the first nine overs worked well momentarily: Ben Stokes played onto Chahar after scoring 19 and Sanju Samson was out for a duck to a Dhoni low one-handed catch.
In between those wickets by Chahar, who finished with 2-18, Robin Uthappa (4) lobbed an easy catch to Dhoni off Hazlewood. Then Buttler took control and earned Rajasthan its fourth win.
Earlier, Dhonis decision to bat first after winning the toss, didnt go well and Chennai posted the lowest total this season by a team batting first.
Legspinners Shreyas Gopal and Rahul Tewatia found grip and turn and didnt concede a single boundary as they went for just 32 runs off their eight overs.
Sam Curran hit the only six in Chennais innings when he lifted Jofra Archer straight back over his head but his teammates hardly showed any intent to accelerate against pace or spin.
Dhoni and top-scorer Jadeja (35) contributed 51 runs for the fifth wicket but consumed 46 balls and Chennai could hit only six boundaries in its last 15 overs.
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