Rajasthan v Chennai, IPL 2013, Jaipur May 12, 2013

Royals No. 2 after Watson assault


Rajasthan Royals 144 for 5 (Watson 70, Binny 41*) beat Chennai Super Kings 141 for 4 (Vijay 55, Cooper 2-32) by 5 wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

At the mid-innings break, Michael Hussey had thought the 141-run total put up by Chennai Super Kings was competitive because the pitch was aiding seam bowling, but he was wary of the "Watson factor". In the end, it was Shane Watson who turned out to be the difference with a 34-ball 70, as Rajasthan Royals registered their eighth win in Jaipur - a cleansheet - and rose to No. 2 in the points table, behind the Super Kings only on net run rate.

Royals had been left scarred by 10 overs of menacing bowling by the Super Kings' seamers and were left looking at a mountain to climb. With 93 required off the last 10, and Rahul Dravid already back in the dugout, a way back looked difficult. Then Dhoni introduced R Ashwin in the 11th, and the match turned on its head. The third ball of the over was slog-swept by Stuart Binny and it just cleared Ravindra Jadeja at deep midwicket, but it was the fifth and the sixth deliveries that signalled the start of the onslaught. Watson swept both comfortably over the midwicket boundary, making it 23 runs of that over, Ashwin's most expensive in all IPL. It was the first over of spin in the game.

It seemed like a switch had been flicked on, and Dhoni's immediate reaction to go back to his seamers in the next over didn't really make a difference to the batsmen. Binny cut and flicked Morris for a couple of boundaries, and then Watson took over. He first drove the impressive Jason Holder for a six over long-off, then bludgeoned two of Dwayne Bravo's next over. The switch in gears left everyone gobsmacked. Morris lost his line in the next over and was duly hit for four boundaries in all directions, the first of which brought Watson's half-century, off just 25 balls. Royals scored 81 between overs 11 and 15. By the time Watson was dismissed, the job had been done. Binny finished the chase with six over long-off to remain unbeaten on 41.

The start of the innings had been nothing like the finish. Royals were peppered with pace and bounce from the Super Kings fast bowlers and they struggled as MS Dhoni maintained pressure with slip fielders. It was only Dravid who seemed adept enough to handle the bowling, similar to how Michael Hussey had steered the first innings for Super Kings, but even he edged a lot.

Royals, who had won five straight matches chasing, had asked Super Kings to bat on a spicy pitch and Hussey and Vijay played the initial period watchfully to thwart the bowlers, then raised the 11th half-century stand between them to set up a strong base for the hitters to follow. But Kevon Cooper struck twice to remove Suresh Raina and Dhoni, derailing the Super Kings' innings and the pitch was too hot to handle for the rest. Had it not been for a brief cameo by Bravo, Super Kings would not have had a competitive total. In the end, however, Royals won with 17 balls to spare.

Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sid on May 13, 2013, 19:41 GMT

    I know that Faulkner's been selected for the Ashes Tour and heard he's a capable No 7. But, I have a question to everybody who might have watched him bat previously. From the very little I've seen of him in the couple of matches where he was promoted to No 3 & on a few where he was batting at his usual position, I wasn't able to judge. And he didn't show a great deal of temperament either when he tried to bash the second ball he faced from Holder & got his stumps knocked back in conditions favouring swing bowling. Seemed a little bizarre. So, is he really that good? Or did Dravid try to pull off a trick too many to save Watson for 6 balls costing 2 wickets?? Those 2 wickets & Dravid to follow, could have put a lot of pressure on RR. And on another day they might have messed up an avg chase & with that their campaign with some ordinary choices. Got great respect for Dravid. But, think he shouldn't try too many more tricks at this time. One wrong choice could cost them big time. Go RR!!

  • Firdaus on May 13, 2013, 15:37 GMT

    Wow...Watto knock. He seems to be in a really good place and Dravid is managing him very well (Take note, Inverarity). Binny has been quite the unsung hero for RR. He's bowled AND batted well on a consistent basis. Dhoni and Raina just through their wickets away, leaving Vijay without much support. Without Bravo's little cameo, they wouldn't have got 140 at all.

    As for all the people criticising Faulkner's promotion, he's actually a more than handy batsmen. He's done pretty well in domestic games.

  • Thyagarajan on May 13, 2013, 12:57 GMT

    It was a clear strategy by Dravid to get a pacer friendly wicket, to send his key batsmen down the order (after the ball became old). But I also feel it was a gamble.

    First of all, CSK got off to a great start (82 for 0 in 11 overs) should have gone on to make 170+ atleast. It was not a case of great bowling but a case of batsmen throwing away their wicket.

    Secondly, The first 10 overs of RR innings were so difficult to play. The batsmen had no clue at all and if only a few of the wickets had fallen earlier, Watson and Binny would have been exposed to that spell of bowling and it would have been curtains for RR.

    In any case, everything fell in place for RR and finally they won in style or so it appears.

  • vas on May 13, 2013, 11:26 GMT

    It is clever tactic by Dravid to chose the green top and play 5 fast bowlers against KKR and CSK. Nowhere in india you risk playing without a spinner. Well done Dravid for "surprising" the visiting teams. Narine, I remember, picked up couple of wickets. Ashwin's over was a total disaster. Play-offs and finals will be in neutral venues( asuming KKR don't qualify) and there will be no home advantage. Can't wait to see what unfolds today between SRH and MI.

  • venkat on May 13, 2013, 10:18 GMT

    This should be a very disturbing loss for CSK. Three main reasons. (i) Raina and Dhoni threw away their wickets with shocking shots so early in their respective innings. They should have played themselves in for at least one over each. (ii) This wicket was ideal for Badri to come in ahead of Jadeja. That could have meant 10 more runs. All in all CSK was a good 40 runs short. (iii) Ashwin's one over went for plenty, but, Bravo and Chris Morris also bowled poorly. Yorkers were missing and the leg stump line was suicidal. Also Ashwin must learn not to bowl in the arc in unhelpful pitches. Shots are not going to be mistimed in those conditions. Dhoni and Flemming failed to help the team this time. RR too left too much to do in the second 10 overs. I agree protecting Watson when the conditions were tough was smart, but they should have risked Hodge instead of Faulkner. Faulkner doesn't seem to have the technique to come in where he did.

  • Muthukumar on May 13, 2013, 8:45 GMT

    Binny has been unsung hero in Many successful chases for RR.This team seems to have right mix of players to Win Matches. Rahane & Dravid holding the innings together. Watson,Samson & Binny taking risks & accelerating scores whenever required.Although Bowling unit is not spectacular they have decent bowlers who can win matches as a unit if not as Individual. Keeping my Finger crossed, Will they repeat 2008 feet.My heart says YES.

  • Harish on May 13, 2013, 8:18 GMT

    Binny was the best player for Karnataka last year. He is extremely talented. He needs to break into the Indian team. Enough of blokes like Yuvaraj. And what about the fearless Sanju Samson too. Under Dravid's captaincy these two have blossomed. Last year it was Bisla. Wonder who will trip CSK in this year's title fight.

  • Sandeep on May 13, 2013, 8:10 GMT

    CSK are playing one batsman short as long as Murali Vijay plays. We have to pity Dhoni. The earlier selection committee used to select Sehwag even when he is not in good form. Then everyone used to ask why is Dhoni picking Sehwag when he is not performing. It is ridiculous to expect Sehwag to be in the 15 member squad but to be dropped from the playing 11. It is a tough decision for Dhoni. So Sehwag carried on until the new (and more efficient) selection committee dropped him.

    The same is now happening with Murali Vijay. He has performed miserably in this IPL. But Dhoni cannot drop him because Vijay is in the squad for Champions Trophy. Dropping Vijay will make everyone ask "If the CSK captain himself finds Vijay not god enough to be in the playing 11 of CSK, how did the selection committee think Dhoni will pick Vijay in the Indian playing 11 for the Champions Trophy. Is it to avoid such a situation, Dhoni is forced to play Vijay? Why to play a non-performer in the playoffs and final?

  • Sherjil on May 13, 2013, 7:52 GMT

    Faulkner is even worst a tail-ender than Zaheer Khan.At-least ZAK can hit spinners out of the park.I wonder why Dravid is trying to promote him ahead of Hodge/Sanju or Binny. Two times he's being promoted, on both occasions, the guy failed miserably. Doesn't have any clue about fast or spin bowling for that matter.Should always bat at no. 11.

  • Dummy4 on May 13, 2013, 7:42 GMT

    RR really look like a unit hungry for success. and they have a very able and respected leader.. kudos to THE WALL for handling so many rookies so deftly. RR is clearly the ALL STAR team without any of the so called "stars" apart from watson. wishing for a MI v/s RR final :).