Chennai Super Kings' opening stand of 83 began relatively slowly, as the pair took time to get used to the surface. If that was a cue on how to succeed on this pitch, Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni ignored it completely. Raina drove his second delivery through the line, in the air, despite there being a long-off in place, and holed out. Dhoni's dismissal was even more baffling. He got a thick outside edge over point off his first delivery, but ignoring the signs, he tried to repeat the shot only to edge it to Shane Watson, who had just been moved to first slip before the delivery.
The high high-five
Jason Holder, the tall West Indies fast bowler, had bowled 11 overs in the IPL before the start of this match, but his wickets column showed nothing. The Jaipur pitch, though, assisted him. He made the batsmen uncomfortable with the bounce he extracted. And the wickets duly arrived. First, it was Ajinkya Rahane who mistimed a lofted drive to mid-on, and then it was James Faulkner, who had given himself room to blast a length delivery, but was left to see the off stump knocked out. Holder ran towards Dwayne Bravo and leapt for a ten-foot high-five. Bravo did well enough to get a hand to it.
The failed experiment
A few days back, Rahul Dravid had rejigged the batting order and sent Faulkner at No. 3 at Eden Gardens on a slow pitch. The experiment then had lasted just four balls with Faulkner managing a solitary run. Today, on a spicy pitch that was testing for players like Dravid, Royals pushed Faulkner up the order again. The result was no better. Faulkner was bowled second ball.
At one stage during Royals' innings, it appeared the batsmen didn't really have a way out. Super Kings' bowlers were bowling with fire and their fielders were not letting anything get away. The energy was visible when Watson had just come in and he chopped one towards point where Ravindra Jadeja dived to his left, caught the ball with one-hand, then threw down the stumps at the striker's end. Unfortunately for him, Watson's bat was well inside the line. Jadeja was also at the boundary when Stuart Binny hit a six off R Ashwin that opened the floodgates, but he would have wanted to be as tall as Kieron Pollard to get to that.