Match no. 37 of the IPL was played between two teams that were both in the upper half of the table and jostling for that extra space and comfort that would nearly ensure them a spot in the knockout stage. To that extent, this was a very critical game between the two sides that contested the final of the first edition of this tournament, Rajasthan Royals and the Chennai Super Kings.
Shane Warne called correctly at the toss and promptly opted to put runs on the board. His team struggled to 140/7 which was surpassed by CSK with 10 balls to spare. S.Badrinath was named the ‘Man of the Match’ for his composed unbeaten knock of 59 that came off only 41 deliveries.
On a slow surface, the RR innings never got any real momentum as one always felt that the Chennai bowlers had things under control. Graeme Smith and Asnodkar, both got starts but did not capitalise and Jadeja was dismissed just as he was beginning to look dangerous.
Pathan too was out cheaply and but for some late order flourish, mainly from the bat of skipper Shane Warne, the team wouldn’t have got to the score that they did, 140/7. Graeme Smith was the top scorer with 30 while for the Chennai Super Kings, Muttiah Muralitharan was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 2/22. Shadab Jakati was amongst the wickets again; he picked 2 of them including that of the dangerous Yusuf Pathan but he went for 35 runs off his allotted 4 overs. Manpreet Gony who’s had a bad tournament so far, both with the ball and on the field was expectedly dropped for this game.>
Mast experts felt that the total of 140 could be a tricky one to chase and they weren’t wrong. So much so that even Mathew Hayden who’s been in brilliant form throughout the tournament found it difficult to time the ball as he would have.
Murali Vijay was accounted for early and even Suresh Raina, the 2nd highest run-scorer didn’t last for too long. Hayden was then joined by S.Badrinath and together they went about the task of accumulating runs.
It wasn’t easy going what with the slow bowlers, especially Warne getting a lot of purchase out of the wicket. At one point, the required rate did touch the 9 runs/over mark but one always felt that with wickets in hand, it was only a question of one big over that the batting side was looking over. That big over came from Shane Harwood who went for 24 runs in over no. 16, all of them scored by Badrinath.
Despite losing Hayden to Warne in the final stages of the game, the Tamil Nadu batsman guided his team to safety by remaining unbeaten till the end. For the Rajasthan bowlers, Shane Warne, Amit Singh and Siddharth Trivedi picked up a wicket each.
With this win, Chennai are back on the top of the pile with 13 points from their 10 games played. They now get a 5-day rest before their next match that will happen on Thursday against the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Meanwhile, Rajasthan too continue to remain in the top half of the table; they’re at the 3rd position with 11 points from their 10 matches played.