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Match summary: Ashwin takes Royals over the line

Kolkata: Rajasthan Royals huffed and puffed their way for a five–wicket win against Chennai Super Kings in the last league game for both for the much-needed two points which ensured them a second place finish on Friday. They will now take on Gujarat Titans for the first Qualifier at the Eden Gardens next week.

It was far from a dominating performance on part of Royals though, with Ravi Ashwin eventually taking them over the line with a courageous innings of 40 off 23 balls, which included three huge sixes. The senior pro left his mark in a match that mattered the most of them, first with the ball to stem Chennai’s run flow in tandem with Yuzvendra Chahal and then a match-winning innings.

Royals, meanwhile, will have reasons to be worried at Jos Buttler’s form in the second part of their campaign as he failed to get a start again. Young Yashasvi Jaiswal tried to hold the innings earlier on with a 59 off 44 balls, but they will need an anchorman in the mid overs.

A belligerent 93, off 57 balls, by Moeen Ali earlier failed to take Chennai Super Kings to the desired total as they finished at a somewhat below-par 150 for six wickets.

Ashwin swings it

Is Ashwin trying to prove a point here? Sent ahead of Hetmyer, the allrounder finds one in the arc from Mahesh Choudhary over mid wicket for a much-needed six. Seven required off last over. 

Chase down to the wire

Royals are huffing and puffing towards the target and have certainly made a heavy weather of their target. Their over-dependance on Buttler has now exposed the middle order and with the asking rate over 10 in last four overs, CSK are backing themselves to end with a win.

Casual shot by Padikkal

It's been an indifferent season from Padikkal. Coming in at an unaccustomed No.4, the left-hander tried for a sweep off Moeen Ali without getting into the pitch of the ball and is cleaned up. It's again surprising to see Ashwin coming out at No.5 ahead of Shimron Hetmyer.  

Enter Malinga 2.0?

A whiff of nostalgia to see young Matheesha Pathirana of Sri Lanka bowl. The sling arm action of the 19-year-old is a distinct reminder of Lasith Malinga at work and it will be fascinating to follow his progress. CSK has blooded him for the second match now with an eye for the next season.

Buttler services has not been at it's best of late..

Jaiswal, Samson steady RR

Buttler's poor run in the second leg of IPL continues, but young Jaiswal made good use of the powerplay with some delightful shots. Skipper Samson looks in fluent touch and with Royals at 52 for one after six, they need to carry on on the same note. 

Mid-match summary: Rajasthan Royals bowlers pull it back

Kolkata: A belligerent 93 (off 57 balls) by Moeen Ali still failed to take Chennai Super Kings to the desired total as they finished at a below-par 150 for six wickets against Rajasthan Royals in the final match for both in the IPL 2022 this evening.

When Moeen cut loose for a 83-run partnership for the second wicket with Devon Conway, the yellow shirts were maintaining a run-rate in the region of 10 at one stage. The England allrounder had reached 50 in 19 balls to make it one of fastest half-centuries in the history of IPL.

However, once Ravi Ashwin got the breakthrough by removing Conway, Chennai lost a cluster of wickets and could never get their tempo back.

The spin duo of Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal brought all their experience into play to apply the brakes and Chennai couldn’t break free of the shackles once the ball got softer. M.S.Dhoni, who was dropped at four, failed to make it count before eventually holing out to Chahal for a 26 with a strike-rate of 92.86.

Now that their bowlers have done a fine job of pulling things back, can the Royals finish the chase early?

Tough going for CSK

The CSK run-rate has slipped to below eight now, largely due to the cluster of wickets falling after that blazing second wicket partnership. With the ball going soft, both MSD and Moeen are finding it tough to find the boundaries. How much can they get in the last four overs now?

Can Dhoni make this count?

A 'life' for MSD when on four. This one climbs up from the hard length from McCoy and Dhoni pushes at it but the nick eludes a diving Samson. Royals have really done well to claw their way back but will Captain Cool make the lapse count?

Ashwin, Chahal apply the brakes

Both the senior spinners are at the best. Chahal is bowling slow to make for the lack of grip on this surface and gets Rayudu - one of the better players of spin - caught at the first slip by Padikkal. The run-rate has slipped a bit but all that could change as MSD has joined Moeen. 

Ashwin strikes

It's finally Ravi Ashwin who ends a marauding 83-run stand by catching Conway in front of the stumps as he went for the sweep. A bit of 50-50 decision after the DRS but Ashwin has got his man. 

Biggest powerplay against RR

It's a monstrous powerplay by CSK, the highest against Royals this season. Moeen had been punishing a bowler like Boult by hitting through the line and reaches his 50 in no time. It could be Chennai's day today.

This will be music to the ears of CSK fans. 

Boult strikes

The New Zealander strikes in the powerplay again - a classical left-armer's fuller delivery angling away from Gaikwad who shapes for a big drive but edges it to Samson. Not the kind of start Chennai wanted in first over after taking up batting.

Royals get a timely boost as Hetmyer is back after attending a family call while Rayudu is back to add more depth to Chennai middle order. 

Chennai opt to bat

Welcome to Match No.68 of the season. Chennai have won the toss and elected to bat against Rajasthan in a match where the Pink Army has lots to play for. 

Kolkata: Rajasthan Royals will want to win big against a somewhat demoralized Chennai Super Kings when they clash this evening at Match No. 68 of the season as the last pieces of jigsaw for the top four spots of IPL 2022 falls into place over today and tomorrow.

The Sanju Samson-led Royals, who are now in third position with 16 points and a net run-rate of + 0.304 after 13 matches, still have a chance to dislodge Lucknow Super Giants from the second position. A top-two finish always has it’s advantages as they play the first Qualifier and the winner moves straightaway into the final.

The Pink Army may like to bat first at the Brabourne Stadium with this mind and will rely heavily on Jos Buttler, very much the topscorer in the league though he has been a bit quiet in the last few matches. Samson will do well not to tinker with the batting line-up at this stage as any slip-up at this stage may undo all the good work in the earlier part of the season.

The M.S.Dhoni-led Chennai, however, pack a punch – as their four wins have shown. If they are willing to give it their all with nothing to lose, then Royals be better on their guard.