Rajasthan Royals win battle of sixes
An emphatic all-round performance powered Rajasthan Royals to a 16-run victory over Chennai Super Kings. The match was the first high-scoring encounter of IPL 2020 with both sides crossing the 200-run mark. A total of 33 sixes were hit - the match thus created history for recording the joint highest number of sixes in an IPL encounter (equalling RCB vs CSK in 2018).
Being put-in to bat first, Rajasthan Royals reached a mammoth total of 216 against the Chennai Super Kings thanks to an absolute blinder from Sanju Samson (74 off 32 balls; 4x1, 6x9). Steve Smith (69 off 47 balls; 4x4, 6x4) acted as the sheet anchor for his side and kept one end steady right from the onset. Debutant Yashasvi Jaiswal was dismissed early on, but then Samson and Smith stitched a magnificent 121-run stand for the third wicket. Chennai mounted a good comeback late into the Royals innings, but Jofra Archer (27 off 8 balls, 6x4) hit four consecutive sixes off Lungi Ngidi’s final over to put his side in the driver’s seat.
Although Ngidi bowled well initially and Sam Curran picked-up three wickets from his spell (4-0-33-3), CSK could never put the brakes on RR’s run-rate.
With a big task at their hands, CSK openers Murali Vijay and Shane Watson provided them with a good start and reached the 50-run stand inside six overs. But just when CSK started looking dangerous, both openers were dismissed in a span of six deliveries. Sam Curran was sent to up the ante, but was dismissed stumped by Rahul Tewatia after hitting two sixes. Tewatia changed the game when he accounted for debutant Ruturaj Gaekwad in the exact same fashion.
With their backs to the wall Faf du Plessis (72 off 37 balls; 4x1, 6x7) launched a brilliant counter-attack, but the asking run-rate was always out of hand due to the middle-order’s failure. CSK sorely missed the presence of Ambati Rayudu in the middle and failed to stitch crucial partnerships in the middle.
With 38 needed from Tom Curran’s final over, Dhoni hit him for three consecutive sixes which will surely make his fans feel over the moon despite the side’s loss.
All in all, it was a brilliant start to the tournament for Rajasthan Royals who can only get better from here with the likely additions of Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes in their line-up.
Rajasthan Royals: 216/7 (Samson 74, Smith 69, Archer 27*, Sam Curran 3-33)
Chennai Super Kings: 200/6 (du Plessis 72, Watson 33, Dhoni 29*, Tewatia 3-37)