Chennai breach fortress Jaipur
Chennai Super Kings 196 for 3 (Vijay 53, Hussey 46, Raina 43, Dhoni 41) beat Rajasthan Royals 133 (Rahane 52, Bollinger 3-22) by 63 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Chennai Super Kings' powerful batting line-up spoiled Shane Warne's first game since announcing his retirement and left Rajasthan Royals needing at least two wins from their remaining matches to qualify for the play-offs. Chennai's top four all played their part to set up the win that pushed their side to 14 points, one victory away from virtually sealing their spot in the play-offs.
There was some controversy ahead of the game as Warne said Rajasthan were forced to change the pitch on which the match was played. It proved to be a surface that wasn't the typical slow-and-low Jaipur track, the sort on which Rajasthan have built their intimidating home record. Instead, it was a quicker pitch that favoured stroke-making, more suited to Chennai's bruising top order.
Michael Hussey provided the initial impetus as M Vijay took his time to find his range. It was the usual unfussy innings from Hussey. He relied on power-hits only for the rare heaves to midwicket, otherwise it was more about touch and placement. There was a reverse-sweep off Ashok Maneria, and plenty of eye-catching drives through the off side. Just as the man averaging above 50 in the IPL seemed set for another half-century, he was foxed by Johan Botha's full delivery. Hussey looked to dispatch it over to short midwicket boundary and was bowled.
While Hussey was scoring at a strike-rate nearly 200, Vijay was initially cautious after three failures. It would have been a fourth flop if Ajinkya Rahane had caught a chance in the fourth over at backward point. Soon after the reprieve Vijay showed signs of the destroyer of 2010, with his favourite lofts over the leg side making a regular appearance. All his boundaries - three sixes and two fours - were in the arc from square leg to long-on, a couple came perilously close to the knocking over the redesigned IPL trophy.
With Suresh Raina regularly finding the cover boundary and Vijay muscling a half-century, Chennai galloped to 117 for 1 in 13 overs. During their stand, the most likely mode of dismissal seemed to be a run-out. There was plenty of confused calling and lazy running, and they escaped several times before a dawdling Vijay was caught out by a direct hit from Botha.
There was no let-up even after that dismissal as MS Dhoni came out blazing. He thrashed Siddharth Trivedi onto the roof of the first tier for his first six before unleashing a series of shots that powered Chennai close to 200. In between, Dhoni also pushed his team-mates to race between the wickets, pressurising the Rajasthan fielders and picking off extra runs.
The outfield was extremely quick and there was a short square boundary, but Rajasthan still needed either Shane Watson or Ross Taylor to play a blinder to pull off the chase. Neither did, and that killed Rajasthan's challenge. After Rahul Dravid fell for a chancy 20, Watson holed out in the sixth over, attempting his trademark slog-sweep. Taylor was gone two overs later, lashing a full delivery from Albie Morkel to deep point, which left them at 63 for 3. Ajinkya Rahane unfurled a series of boundaries to reach his second Twenty20 half-century, but that proved too little to curb the spiralling asking-rate, and Chennai walked to a 63-run victory.
Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo