Jaipur: Shane Watson butchered Chennai Super Kings bowlers in a sensational batting display as Rajasthan Royals scored a comprehensive five wicket victory in their Pepsi IPL match here today.
Chasing 142 for a win, Rajasthan lost three wickets — Ajinkya Rahane (9), James Faulkner (1) and Sanju Samson (0) — inside five overs before Watson played a blistering knock of 70 from just 34 balls with the help of six fours and as many sixes to end the match in dramatic fashion with 17 balls to spare.
Stuart Binny, who chipped in with a 23-ball unbeaten 41, ended the match in style with a six off Ravindra Jadeja as Rajasthan reached 144 for five in 17.1 overs.
The breathtaking batting display by Watson and Binny, who shared 93 runs in 7.3 overs for the fifth wicket left the home fans at the Sawai Mansingh stadium spellbound. The home side scored an amazing 95 runs in 7.1 overs.
With the win, their 10th in 14 matches, Rajasthan jumped to second spot on 20 points. Chennai remained on top of table on 20 points from 14 matches. They are above Rajasthan on net run rate.
Rajasthan also kept intact their unbeaten record at home this season. They ended their home matches today with an all-win record, the first team to do so this season.
At the halfway stage, Channai were 49 for four, needing 93 from the next 10 overs, but Watson and Binny turned the match on its head with a breathtaking partnership.
The duo took 23 runs off R Ashwin in the 11th over and that set the tone for the sensational show of stroke-making. It later turned out to be a carnage of Chennai bowlers as Watson rained fours and sixes with Binny also chipping in.
Watson and Binny added 81 runs in the five overs after 10th with the former contributing 51, hitting four fours and five sixes during this period.
For Chennai, Jason Holder took two wickets for 20 runs while Chris Morris and Dwayne Bravo got a wicket each.
Holder scalped Rahane and Faulkner, who was promoted up the order, in the space of three balls in the fourth over with both the batsmen playing unnecessary shots early on.
With three wickets already gone and the pitch offering a bit of seam movement and swing, runs were hard to come by and Rajasthan batsmen had to wait for opportune time for big hits.
Pressure got the better of captain Rahul Dravid as he tried to cut a Morris delivery over point only to get a thick edge for Chennai captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni to collect it behind the stumps.
Rajasthan were 45 for four when Dravid was out in the 10th over but the next over bowled by Ashwin changed the complexion of the game.
Binny first got a six though it just missed the hands of a jumping Jadeja at the boundary ropes before Watson hoisted Ashwin over fence in consecutive deliveries as the over yielded 23 runs to take the asking rate down to less than eight an over.
The match then turned to Rajasthan’s favour as they took 10 runs each from the next two overs with Watson and Binny getting the sixes which Chennai could not do even once in their innings.
The calculated decision to hold back big hitters came to the fore as Watson rained sixes — two off Bravo and one off Holder — with Binny chipping in one in between.
Watson was finally out in the 17th over but by that time, Rajasthan needed just four runs to win and Binny’s six to end the match send the home crowd into a frenzy.
Earlier, Chennai lost way after a solid start as they scored a modest 141 for four.
Put in to bat, Chennai openers Michael Hussey and Murali Vijay put on 83 runs in 11.3 overs and looked like they would post a big score only to fritter the strong start at the second half of their innings.
Vijay top-scored with a 50-ball 55 studded with six fours while Hussey contributed a 40-ball 41. Dwayne Bravo chipped in with a late flourish of 11-ball 23 not out.
Interestingly, Chennai batsmen failed to score a single six in their innings for the first time for the team this season.
Hussey and Vijay gave Chennai a strong before the former was out in the 12th over. Hussey, who was looking set for another big knock, was dismissed rather tamely as his leg stump was knocked off while trying to pull a Binny delivery.
Last match hero Suresh Raina (1) did not last long as he perished in the next over in a soft dismissal, just four balls after Hussey’s departure. Raina offered a comfortable catch to long-off fielder Sanju Samson of the bowling of Kevon Cooper.
Chennai lost their third wicket in quick succession in uncharacteristic fashion as captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (2) fell to Cooper in the same over, four deliveries after Raina’s dismissal.
Dhoni failed to connect properly a length delivery which got the thick edge of his blade for Shane Watson to take the catch comfortably at first slip. From 83 for no loss in 12th over, Chennai suddenly slumped to 89 for three in 13th over.
Vijay was run out in the 18th over with Dishant Yagnik breaking the wickets with an under-arm throw. Ravindra Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo gave respectability to Chennai total with a quick 28-run stand in just 2.4 overs for the unbroken fifth wicket.
Kevon Cooper was the most successful Rajasthan bowler with two wickets for 32 runs while Stuart Binny got one.