Rajasthan v Chennai, IPL 2012, Jaipur May 10, 2012

Late surge takes Chennai in to top four


Chennai Super Kings 127 for 6 (Raina 23, Morkel 18*, Anirudha 18*) beat Rajasthan Royals 126 for 6 (Hodge 33, Hilfenhaus 2-8) by four wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

You can't rule out Chennai Super Kings. They are no strangers to wriggling out of a difficult situation, and they did it again in Jaipur, when it seemed their playoff prospects were in peril. The teams, at a crucial juncture in the season, could ill-afford a slip-up, and Super Kings huffed and puffed in a low-scoring chase but made it thanks to a late onslaught from Albie Morkel and S Anirudha. They completely altered the flow of a game heading for a close finish and, with 13 points in the bag, Super Kings broke into the top four.

Royals were favourites when they had Super Kings at 84 for 6 in the 17th over, the wicket of Ravindra Jadeja, caught in the deep, prompting a roar of relief from a usually calm Rahul Dravid. But Super Kings were always in the game with Morkel around, and Anirudha matched him shot for shot as the Royals bowlers buckled under pressure. That surge, which produced 43 off 13 balls, left the home crowd deflated and Royals stunned by the sudden transformation it wrought.

As has often been the case this IPL, the seamers erred at the death, with attempts at bowling yorkers failing miserably to end up as length deliveries. With 41 needed off 21, Morkel launched Pankaj Singh just over the long-off boundary, a mistimed hit carrying all the way. A top-edged four and a single later, the equation was down to 30 required off three overs.

Not even the experienced Shane Watson could maintain Royals' hold. A length ball was smashed over long-on, and Anirudha, having a go himself instead of giving his senior partner the strike, pulled over the midwicket fence before steering a full toss past point for a boundary. Shaun Tait was brought back with 12 needed off 12, but another pitched up delivery was swung towards cow corner. Tait then bowled Anirudha with a perfect yorker, only to find out he'd overstepped, just marginally, before doling out five wides down the leg side to hasten the finish.

Morkel and Anirudha undid an impressive performance from the Royals bowlers for the bulk of the innings; they had given the hosts hope of defending their lowest score this season. Suresh Raina had looked threatening, finding boundaries with effortless ease but his attempt to go over extra cover failed against Pankaj. Michael Hussey and Dwayne Bravo tried to consolidate but the ball was not coming on well enough on a slow track, and the Royals bowlers, especially Siddharth Trivedi, kept the pressure on with their accuracy. Bravo holed out, Hussey was run out, MS Dhoni slashed one to point and Jadeja soon followed. That was until Morkel and Anirudha got together.

Royals' below-par score owed partly to the frustration of having their innings interrupted three times by rain, but largely to some disciplined bowling by the Super Kings seamers, especially Ben Hilfenhaus, that kept the batsmen in check. Hilfenhaus beat the bat often, getting the ball to nip away past the outside edge, and maintained a tight line in the channel outside off. His victims were Dravid and Watson, both caught while trying to accelerate during a troubling spell; Watson was brilliantly taken by R Ashwin, diving forward at third man.

While Hilfenhaus finished with figures of 2 for 8 in four overs, Yo Mahesh backed him up with the wickets of Ajinkya Rahane and Stuart Binny, out after a brief counterattack. Though Brad Hodge targeted the spinners for a couple of boundaries, and an erratic Bravo was taken for runs, the good work done at the start of the game by Super Kings' bowlers was to serve their middle order well in the end.

Siddhartha Talya is a sub editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on May 11, 2012, 18:34 GMT

    Albie - no comments - you are doing,what you usually do, the feather i n the CSK cap but Anirudh - Maannn, you were terrific - we have seen your father send Wasim Akram to the boundary, time and again.. but that was a different format, with much less pressure, i guess... Keep going CSK ...

  • Raj on May 11, 2012, 16:25 GMT

    albie you've done a great job, aniruth you better learn to give the strike to albie... That was no time to prove your worth than winning.

  • Karthik on May 11, 2012, 16:11 GMT

    How many of you have heard about Murali Vijay, Ashwin, Badrinath, Jakati, Gony before IPL? Its absolute rubbish to say that CSK does not give opportunity to indian talent. How many youngsters MI or KKR have given opportunity and why are they not criticised? Its because they have not won any IPL. In India success brings criticism and not many can tolerate success of CSK and Dhoni. They are playing with many non super star foreign players like Faf, Bravo, Morkel, Bollinget etc even though they win. Greatest team in all IPL

  • Kavin on May 11, 2012, 15:17 GMT

    @ Bruisers - Vijay and Ashwin nternational players? Bwahahahahaha biggest joke of the month. Forget about Vijay, he is'nt worth of discussing about him. Ashwin, except that home seriies against lousy west indies, he has failed to deliver. Bhajji was replaced by another bhajji with no impact at all.

  • sp on May 11, 2012, 14:35 GMT

    Last match from the first ball we can able to see Vijay confident but now he tries to secure his position which make him duck. CSK has 7 best batsman but all are afraid of touching the ball . Come on CSK take simple target 3 over 140 strike rate and no dot ball.

  • Bryn on May 11, 2012, 13:41 GMT

    man i had no idea hilf could become a t20 player! best bowler in the world right now without doubt. will he get a world t20 spot competing with the likes of MJ, cummins, pattinson, starc, harris, mckay and tait?

  • paraa on May 11, 2012, 12:42 GMT

    Some one here mentioned that CSK not giving chances to young indian talent.Fact is Ashwin got to Indian team after CSK gave him a chance,Badrinath didn't play for India before he played for CSK, Gony was picked for Indian team after CSK gave him a chance.Even Raina was out of Indian team during first season of IPL and began to get noticed after his prolific IPL 2008.Most successfull teams are teams which maintain the core team strength for a long time.The people who are talking this trash either doesn't know cricket or plain jealous of CSK being so successful.May be they want CSK to become like Deccan chanrgers who gave away all the players who won the IPL2 and now at bottom of the pack with worthless Indian bowlers.

  • Deepak on May 11, 2012, 12:13 GMT

    @gotya73 - Vijay and Ashwin were rookie contracts when they started playing for CSK.. So CSK has 'made' 2 good international cricketers out of nowhere.

  • Dummy4 on May 11, 2012, 11:54 GMT

    Poor bowling from Watson cost the match.. Its not the Dravid's thinking which cost the match.. He put his best bowlers for the last 3 overs bu the best did the worse which cost the match.. Its Dravid who used his bowlers promptly and put the check on CSK scoring the runs... With this win CSK got into top 4 but my gut feeling is they will not be making for playoffs, they will definitely loose matches against DD and KKR for sure and RR will definitely make it to playoffs bcoz of their matches against PWI, DC and MI...

  • Dummy4 on May 11, 2012, 11:47 GMT

    I don't know what MS was thinking when he gave bravo 3 overs and his go to man Ashwin 2. If it wasn't for bravo RR would have got 10-15 runs less and it would have been a mush easier chase; still chasing 127 with the kind of fire power they got they really shouldn't have let the game go till the end. just look at the ease with which Albie & Anirudh scored towards the end they just made a mockery of all the batsmen batted before Kudos!!!!!! Albie & Anirudh they just showed their senior pros how to bat!!!!!!!

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