Dubai: Rajasthan Royals batsmen flayed the Chennai Super Kings attack to ease to a seven-wicket victory as Ruturaj Gaikwad’s unbeaten century went in vain in the Indian Premier League clash at Zayed Cricket Stadium tonight.
Chasing a big target, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Evin Lewis launched a counter-offensive that took Super Kings by surprise. Jaiswal’s half-century off 20 balls and Shivam Dube’s maiden half-century ensured that skipper Sanju Samson, who has a penchant for aerial shots, need not take any risk in the big chase, his 24-ball 28 compiled without a single six.
Jaiswal, aided by a drop chance, got bolder in his approach to display his array of shots all around the ground. When KM Asif ended Jaiswal’s stay off the first ball he bowled, It must have come in as a huge reward for the Kerala pacer who toiled his way to the top, including a stint as a storekeeper in Dubai.
Chennai, who had already booked their spot in the playoffs, had an off day today with catches going abegging and the bowlers spraying all around to make it easy for the Rajasthan batsmen. Gaikwad’s century and a late cameo by Ravindra Jadeja were the only bright spots for the Yellow Lions.
The Chennai opener Gaikwad has come a long way since a lackluster debut last year since his dedut, where he struggled to make a mark in the initial phase before cementing his place.
After the initial hiccups, Gaikwad reposed the faith of the team towards the end of last season and continued from where he left off in this UAE leg, where he has carried the bat twice – 88 not out against Mumbai Indians in the opener and 101 not out off 60 balls in today’s game against Rajasthan.
Gaikwad’s lean frame belies the power that he packs in his shots as he has now scored 20 sixes this season, equal to that of KL Rahul. The consistency also has given the Chennai opener Gaikwad the Orange Cap.
With Mumbai Indians losing their clash against Delhi Capitals at Sharjah Cricket Stadium earlier in the day, has crowded the mid table with four teams – Kolkata Knight Riders, Punjab Kings, Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai - on 10 points. Royal Challenges Bangalore with 14 points have the edge over the others in battle for final two spots in the playoffs.
Mumbai’s batting woes continued to haunt them as the defending champions were restricted to 129 for eight by Delhi with Avesh Khan and Axar Patel grabbing three wickets each. Suryakumar Yadav’s return to form must have given Mumbai some confidence in the final two games as they push for the playoff spot.
Despite suffering early scare, skipper Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer and Ravichandran Ashwin ensured Capitals cross the line with four wickets in hand and five balls to spare. Delhi remain in second spot behind Chennai on lower net run rate.