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  • POSTED BY ladycricfan on | May 14, 2014, 9:05 GMT

    Ashwin is not a slogger. Yesterday's match situation was ideal for him to play a test match like innings with faf. Their run a ball partnership of 29 off 29 balls took the match into the final 5 overs. Ideal time for Jadeja and Dhoni to come in and finish the job. On a sluggish pitch Dhoni did the right thing by holding himself back and promoting Ashwin. If dhoni came early and lost his wicket, CSK might have lost the game.

  • POSTED BY andythegrt on | May 14, 2014, 8:35 GMT

    There is no better finisher than Dhoni in this world. Go whistlepodu

  • POSTED BY avani on | May 14, 2014, 8:13 GMT

    Dhoni is such a finisher that he has created a brand for himself as the best finisher. Now a days the bowlers bowling death overs at him succumb to pressure and bowl exactly to his favorite spots like Falkuner did last night. It is like he controls the minds of death bowlers. Need an equally cool and strong minded bowler to bowl at him the last over to refuse a win to him.

  • POSTED BY on | May 14, 2014, 7:42 GMT

    well said manoj...its a fact.

  • POSTED BY caught_knott_bowled_old on | May 14, 2014, 6:49 GMT

    Great Planning. Great Execution. Great Team. Go CSK. CSK's run chase went exactly according to plan. Get quick runs when the ball is hard and shiny. Upto the first strategic timeout, they were at about 9 rpo. Thereafter, things slowed down, with Raina and Smith getting out. Therefore, Faf and Ashwin played exactly the way they should have. Taking singles and scoring about 6 rpo, chipping away at the target and not losing wickets. Not panicking (remember KKR?). It was perfect. Getting 25 in the last two overs was never going to be a problem against RR that does not have a Malinga or Narine. I'd give CSK a 90+% chance of getting it, which they duly did. So, its not about Dhoni being the best finisher or not. Its part of a well thought out plan. Best team in the league.

  • POSTED BY Yousufahmed1 on | May 14, 2014, 6:43 GMT

    @ ALBERT_CAMBELL funnily enough none of them belong to your team of paper legends. LOL.

  • POSTED BY TRAM on | May 14, 2014, 6:30 GMT

    I am confused regarding Vijay Shankr. Is he off-spinner or medium pace? I thought he bowled medium pace today based on his run-up and pace. Cricinfo and other site says he is an offspinner. (http://www.espncricinfo.com/usa/content/player/477021.html http://www.iplt20.com/teams/chennai-super-kings/squad/1083/Vijay-Shankar/) If he is indeed an offspinner, why would he be used as pace bowler? Why was the debutant introduced to bowl his non-specialist bolwing option that too when the international hitter (Watson) was at the crease that too well settled?

  • POSTED BY Srini_Indian on | May 14, 2014, 6:20 GMT

    @Albert_cambell: Enough of this hype about AB. He is a great batsman no doubt, but he hasn't won anything important for SA in ODIs and T20s. He isn't a good finisher, Kohli in his young career has won 10 times more for India than AB ever has for SA in his entire career so far. Kohli and Dhoni had done this without a good bowling attack to boast for. Whilst AB is good, Kohli is far better than him in ODIs and T20s. AB is better than Kohli in tests ATM but if Kohli does well in England, I'm sure he'd become #1 in tests too. Kohli and Dhoni are a class above AB in ODIs and T20s.

  • POSTED BY Siva_Bala75 on | May 14, 2014, 6:04 GMT

    Dhoni is more focused on the 'process' so the results come more often than not his way. Also Dhoni has two roles- One as a captain and another as a finisher. As a finisher in a T20 game, yesterday he completed the win scoring 44 in 27 balls. Dhoni, as the captain, first ensured that the team gets to that position (by sending Ashwin) and has more than an even chance of winning. In Stock market parlance, achieving a good return with lower risk (lower beta) is any day better than achieving the same or even slightly better return with a much elevated risk. Dhoni as a captain is fantastic in that he keeps the possibility of winning open till very end and gets closer and closer to the win. Look at some of the losses (good example is KKR against RR and the ever popular South Africa chokes) and still people are criticizing Dhoni! This works very well for Dhoni in ODIs and T20 where India is highly ranked.

  • POSTED BY JBSA on | May 14, 2014, 5:49 GMT

    When fans fighting and criticizing over here on whether Dhoni is a best finisher or not, CSK and Indian team just understands Dhoni has cutout the task for everyone. Be it the opening bowler or the death over specialist, he shuffles them very well. Also when it comes to batting, as the team is in safe position Dhoni has started his experiments and also giving the needed chances. Regarding people who question Dhoni doesn't come at first, they need to understand no one can accelerate the innings at the last as fast as him since lot of yorkers are expected and also the bowlers err at the scare on bowling to Dhoni. Its as simple as that. Let Ab, Bevan and Hussey be a better finishers. We have MSD to win the matches. Don't want to prove anything to anyone after winning so many trophies emphatically under his leadership

  • POSTED BY ssenthil on | May 14, 2014, 5:00 GMT

    When CSK win it's becoz the opponent played badly and lost the game. If CSK lost then the opponent won the game rather then CSK played badly. So this indicates CSK have never put a foot wrong anytime, win or lose, they always played their best and if the opponent can go one better they can win it or they are going to lose. CSK is constant as always. Another time they crossed the league stage and now 7 out of 7

  • POSTED BY vivekanandanarulmozhi on | May 14, 2014, 3:54 GMT

    If CSK win, most them cannot believe and CSK haters always came forward and pointing some useless comments,

    1. First all said dhoni is not changing playing XI - Now they have only four players waiting for chance ( Baba, Hasting, Henry, Ronit ) FYI CSK have less members when compared to other teams.

    2. Dhoni finish in last over only - Yes CSK need an win and not an collapse like other teams. If dhoni out in 16-18 overs then its difficult to win.

    3. Dhoni in not a good finisher - Wow what a joke, He is the best finisher in the world and he proved this in lot of ODI's

    4. He is not promoting is order - There is no need for that

    CSK haters is always say anything, Think how many times in ODI dhoni rescue india from bad position. There is no need to prove him in his club ( CSK ) team.

    Even though I'm fan KXIP, i can believe dhoni's batting and captaincy. Just think what happen to India in ASIA cup without dhoni.

  • POSTED BY ramli on | May 14, 2014, 3:51 GMT

    @ALBERT-CAMBELL ... None of the AB, Bevan or Hussey had finished big games in India either ... so ... MSD is better than all of these!!!

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | May 14, 2014, 3:11 GMT

    csk is replica of indian national side...they are bound to do well.no gr8 ach there. ask dhoni to lead delhi team. he will loose there like kp.

  • POSTED BY Siva_Bala75 on | May 14, 2014, 2:55 GMT

    RR scored 84/1 in the first 10 overs and just 64/7 in the back end. It was much more difficult to score with the old ball in the back end. That is why Ashwin was sent by Dhoni when CSK needed 73 in 10. When Ashwin got out, 44 was required and the required rate was 8.5 from 5.1 overs. Importantly Bhatia had just one ball left with Faf, MS and Jadeja to complete. When 12 was needed from the last over, even if MS is caught in the deep, Jadeja would have thrown his bat around- that gives the best chance to CSK for the win rather than trying to close this earlier. Dhoni saw what RR did in the back end and how the wicket played, so Dhoni's plan was perfect.

  • POSTED BY on | May 14, 2014, 2:39 GMT

    Many People were wrongly accessing the thinking of Dhoni. According to me - No, He is not playing for glory nor he is making easy wins difficult. He puts the price on his wicket, He must have heart broken many times as a kid watching SRT played his best and when he lose his wicket the whole team collapses. we all had the same bad old memories right? I guess he learnt a lot from that, He don't want to go berserk and get out on one good ball and put responsibility on others, Instead just allow the game go as it goes and stay there till the end. you may get one bad over or one bad ball where you can take advantage, also stay there in middle will allow you to think and explode at right time. This gamble of Dhoni may work or may not work at times. but mostly it is working. But on continuously finishing games as such he has created fear and pressure on bowlers and opposition team and they are proned to do mistakes on fear. This Man Dhoni is a good thriller story to read and i am loving it:)

  • POSTED BY Albert_cambell on | May 14, 2014, 2:32 GMT

    MS DHoni only finishes when the teams needs only 40 runs off 30 balls. Any decent finisher can do that. He never wins the match when his team is chasing a big total. He has never finished a game outside the subcontinent. Thats why he cannot be considered as the best finisher in the world. He is a good finisher but nowhere near the class of Hussey, AB and Bevan.

  • POSTED BY cricpanther on | May 14, 2014, 2:14 GMT

    For RR, Tambe completely out of touch and poor bowling he is bowling at this moment. Rahane sucks and nervous cricketer as always, Yagnik also not having extra factor, Karun poor bating. Binny is doing nonsense at right time and throw wicket, why he lacks of power as always, its look like he is veteran cricketer rather than youngster, i hope he can not be pick by indian side. what more...you can ask...These players should be thrown out asap. There is nothing to do with Dhoni or any CSK...complete poor performance by these stupids of RR.

  • POSTED BY cricpanther on | May 14, 2014, 2:10 GMT

    RR again fall short of close winning game, that will cost them at the later. Also it indicates teams are still fearing for 1. CSK 2. Dhoni 3. Home ground/crowd conditions!! As a cricketer, you should not be afraid of anything and play without pressure of all and get involved and apply 100 % of themselves. Leave everything, every factors, calculations apart and play some good cricket. Stupids/fear full cricketers and out of focus cricketers should not allow to play into IPL.

  • POSTED BY xylo on | May 13, 2014, 22:00 GMT

    I don't understand frustration with RR's experimentation. For all practical purposes, RR and CSK are through to the playoffs, and so, RR would like to experiment a few things on their end. They are prepared to lose the war to win the battle. CSK, on the other hand, have been a well settled unit, with clearly defined roles. Both approaches are interesting in their own right. Let's get over it.

  • POSTED BY on | May 13, 2014, 20:46 GMT

    RR deserved to lose this one. Firstly, after winning the toss, it was ludicrous to put CSK into bat. With Dhoni in the line up they can chase any target unless its something like the 231 that Punjab scored. Secondly, Shane Watson did not bowl a single over - not sure why. Thirdly, agreed they should not have experimented too much in hindsight, but having done that and getting a decent start, they should have sent in Steve Smith at no 4 to keep up the momentum. They better realise that there are still a long way away from securing a place in the last four.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 13, 2014, 19:07 GMT

    Match with out Sanju is like.....Kohli not playing in Indian team.

  • POSTED BY fguy on | May 13, 2014, 18:20 GMT

    @mervo what a 'busy' life you must have and still you get the time to comment on every game that doesnt even interest you.. good on you

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 13, 2014, 18:05 GMT

    msd creates pressure and survives that.. but how come a player hits perfectly 99 percent in pressure situation?

  • POSTED BY ramli on | May 13, 2014, 17:55 GMT

    Why don't you give credit to some good tight bowling from CSK in the end overs? It need not always have to be insipid batting! It as ludicrous strategy o RR's part to experiment in an important match. Well done CSK!! You are almost ssured of end top 4 finish!!!

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 13, 2014, 17:43 GMT

    hats off to d genius.. proving why he is the best finisher in the world

  • POSTED BY Temuzin on | May 13, 2014, 17:07 GMT

    MSD is "the Boss". He plays his own game and in spite of his critics, mostly wins it. Hats off to him. He is a pure genius and the greatest finisher in the cricket history.

  • POSTED BY Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on | May 13, 2014, 15:47 GMT

    The weak areas for RR while batting: RR seems to lose their way from around over 8-14. They barely score around 30-35 runs in those 6 overs killing all the momentum. This happens almost in every match. In a match when they have a slow start, their problems will deepen further. Quick start of 55+ in 7 overs plus 35 = 90+ in 14 overs. Slow start of 40+ in 7 overs plus 35 = 75+ in 14 overs. So, in the first example, the entire momentum gets killed and in the second example, they are in a deeper hole. RR should understand that strike-rates in 115-125 range is no good for openers after facing 25+ deliveries with only 3-4 boundaries. 3-4 boundaries is what you should score in 2 overs because of field restrictions. The slow scoring between overs 8-14 will lead to panic and if wickets fall after this stage, the team will invariably end up setting a below par target or fail to chase a below par target. Taking a single off the 5th ball leaves your partner clueless on the 6th ball. Avoid it.

  • POSTED BY IndCricFan2013 on | May 13, 2014, 15:36 GMT

    I will take everything back of what I said after the CSK Vs MI match. I asked the teams to play two best bowlers 19th and 20th, with best one bowling 20th, ( Malinga) and 19th by a better bowler than Pollard. Although Fakulner and cooper are not Malinga, they are still much better than Pollard and Malinga combined. But what happened? Dhoni planned everything out sitting in the dug out. He sent Ashwin up and kept him and Jadeja to the end and most importantly frantic running by both, if you can not hit a 6, then do it by 2's. Steve Smith just did the other day, just once , one ball tapping a two in super over, but here these 2 guys did it for 2 overs or more and just two blows. Do not lose wicket, do not hit 6's, even if they best bowler is there, run 2's like a maniac. Now we need to find another way to contain Dhoni, not to take 30 in 3 overs. Jadeja is an able partner, it is was like they both were laughing in the middle.

  • POSTED BY ravin_cricluv on | May 13, 2014, 15:35 GMT

    CSK is the only team which can play a game like test match and still win a match in the last over.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 13, 2014, 15:23 GMT

    why csk take the game to final over?no fear about run rate?

  • POSTED BY ladycricfan on | May 13, 2014, 15:14 GMT

    Well done CSK. Dhoni and co have done it again. In matches like these Dwayne Bravo/Albie is missed terribly. They have been coming down the order and finished many matches for CSK with their big hitting. CSK has David Hussey now to play that role. Lets see how Dhoni and Flemming use him.

  • POSTED BY AshwinMS on | May 13, 2014, 15:12 GMT

    @DRAVID_PUJARA_GRAVITAS_ATHEIST Yagnik is also an uncapped player,he deserved a chance.But undoubtedly,Hodge need to be in the team.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 13, 2014, 15:09 GMT

    Ashwin's indifferent form really worries me as a CSK fan. CSK doesn't have any other genuine spinner who can come hand in the knock offs. MSD should look at other options.

  • POSTED BY on | May 13, 2014, 15:01 GMT

    With this win CSK comfortably ENTER into the PLAYOFFS. Maybe 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th. The place for the playoffs is secured. Nothing to worry about the up coming matches.

  • POSTED BY Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on | May 13, 2014, 14:49 GMT

    Excessive tinkering led to this defeat. Not a problem at this stage. But RR should soon stop tinkering too much and stick to the basic core with Sanju and Hodge being integral to that core. I see no place for Cooper or Kane in the playing XI. That place belongs to Hodge. Sanju wins hands down over Yagnik. So, not able to understand this kind of poor tinkering by Dravid, Watson and Co. Stop this mindless tinkering, will ya?

  • POSTED BY bijuphilip on | May 13, 2014, 14:42 GMT

    RR should not have changed their batting order and playing eleven drastically 1.karun2rahane3samson4watson5smith6hodge7jamesfalkner8binny9battia 10asharma11ftampe

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 13, 2014, 14:37 GMT

    for a spinner to concede 34 on this wicket bowling second is criminal. Tambe is really overdoing it these days. trying too many things when all he needs to do is keep it simple and concentrate on his line. he is bowling too far from the wicket.

  • POSTED BY TheUltimateTruth on | May 13, 2014, 14:23 GMT

    Ashwin bowled very poorly. Other than that it was a good all around performance by CSK. Smith at the top, Faf in the middle, Dhoni/Jadeja at the end, and Mohit and Jadeja with the ball all contributed greatly. RR look good too, but seem to be just a bit lacking at the very highest level.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 13, 2014, 14:10 GMT

    oh no mohit should be man of the match.three crucial wickets.his wicket of Watson turn the match to csk.

  • POSTED BY on | May 13, 2014, 14:05 GMT

    Sanju Samson is the only bright youngester that rose to the occasion this year for India and Watson not playing him, is this IPL really helping Indian cricketers?

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | May 13, 2014, 13:26 GMT

    RR shouldnot have took the wicket of ashwin

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 13, 2014, 12:18 GMT

    good comeback by csk.. only 64 runs in last 10 overs

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 13, 2014, 11:31 GMT

    wat ? sanju samson not playing..ok im going b to sleep..

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 13, 2014, 11:24 GMT

    thumbs down for a double header on a Tuesday.

  • POSTED BY Mervo on | May 13, 2014, 10:56 GMT

    Yawn..... another 'game"?

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • POSTED BY ladycricfan on | May 14, 2014, 9:05 GMT

    Ashwin is not a slogger. Yesterday's match situation was ideal for him to play a test match like innings with faf. Their run a ball partnership of 29 off 29 balls took the match into the final 5 overs. Ideal time for Jadeja and Dhoni to come in and finish the job. On a sluggish pitch Dhoni did the right thing by holding himself back and promoting Ashwin. If dhoni came early and lost his wicket, CSK might have lost the game.

  • POSTED BY andythegrt on | May 14, 2014, 8:35 GMT

    There is no better finisher than Dhoni in this world. Go whistlepodu

  • POSTED BY avani on | May 14, 2014, 8:13 GMT

    Dhoni is such a finisher that he has created a brand for himself as the best finisher. Now a days the bowlers bowling death overs at him succumb to pressure and bowl exactly to his favorite spots like Falkuner did last night. It is like he controls the minds of death bowlers. Need an equally cool and strong minded bowler to bowl at him the last over to refuse a win to him.

  • POSTED BY on | May 14, 2014, 7:42 GMT

    well said manoj...its a fact.

  • POSTED BY caught_knott_bowled_old on | May 14, 2014, 6:49 GMT

    Great Planning. Great Execution. Great Team. Go CSK. CSK's run chase went exactly according to plan. Get quick runs when the ball is hard and shiny. Upto the first strategic timeout, they were at about 9 rpo. Thereafter, things slowed down, with Raina and Smith getting out. Therefore, Faf and Ashwin played exactly the way they should have. Taking singles and scoring about 6 rpo, chipping away at the target and not losing wickets. Not panicking (remember KKR?). It was perfect. Getting 25 in the last two overs was never going to be a problem against RR that does not have a Malinga or Narine. I'd give CSK a 90+% chance of getting it, which they duly did. So, its not about Dhoni being the best finisher or not. Its part of a well thought out plan. Best team in the league.

  • POSTED BY Yousufahmed1 on | May 14, 2014, 6:43 GMT

    @ ALBERT_CAMBELL funnily enough none of them belong to your team of paper legends. LOL.

  • POSTED BY TRAM on | May 14, 2014, 6:30 GMT

    I am confused regarding Vijay Shankr. Is he off-spinner or medium pace? I thought he bowled medium pace today based on his run-up and pace. Cricinfo and other site says he is an offspinner. (http://www.espncricinfo.com/usa/content/player/477021.html http://www.iplt20.com/teams/chennai-super-kings/squad/1083/Vijay-Shankar/) If he is indeed an offspinner, why would he be used as pace bowler? Why was the debutant introduced to bowl his non-specialist bolwing option that too when the international hitter (Watson) was at the crease that too well settled?

  • POSTED BY Srini_Indian on | May 14, 2014, 6:20 GMT

    @Albert_cambell: Enough of this hype about AB. He is a great batsman no doubt, but he hasn't won anything important for SA in ODIs and T20s. He isn't a good finisher, Kohli in his young career has won 10 times more for India than AB ever has for SA in his entire career so far. Kohli and Dhoni had done this without a good bowling attack to boast for. Whilst AB is good, Kohli is far better than him in ODIs and T20s. AB is better than Kohli in tests ATM but if Kohli does well in England, I'm sure he'd become #1 in tests too. Kohli and Dhoni are a class above AB in ODIs and T20s.

  • POSTED BY Siva_Bala75 on | May 14, 2014, 6:04 GMT

    Dhoni is more focused on the 'process' so the results come more often than not his way. Also Dhoni has two roles- One as a captain and another as a finisher. As a finisher in a T20 game, yesterday he completed the win scoring 44 in 27 balls. Dhoni, as the captain, first ensured that the team gets to that position (by sending Ashwin) and has more than an even chance of winning. In Stock market parlance, achieving a good return with lower risk (lower beta) is any day better than achieving the same or even slightly better return with a much elevated risk. Dhoni as a captain is fantastic in that he keeps the possibility of winning open till very end and gets closer and closer to the win. Look at some of the losses (good example is KKR against RR and the ever popular South Africa chokes) and still people are criticizing Dhoni! This works very well for Dhoni in ODIs and T20 where India is highly ranked.

  • POSTED BY JBSA on | May 14, 2014, 5:49 GMT

    When fans fighting and criticizing over here on whether Dhoni is a best finisher or not, CSK and Indian team just understands Dhoni has cutout the task for everyone. Be it the opening bowler or the death over specialist, he shuffles them very well. Also when it comes to batting, as the team is in safe position Dhoni has started his experiments and also giving the needed chances. Regarding people who question Dhoni doesn't come at first, they need to understand no one can accelerate the innings at the last as fast as him since lot of yorkers are expected and also the bowlers err at the scare on bowling to Dhoni. Its as simple as that. Let Ab, Bevan and Hussey be a better finishers. We have MSD to win the matches. Don't want to prove anything to anyone after winning so many trophies emphatically under his leadership

  • POSTED BY Mervo on | May 13, 2014, 10:56 GMT

    Yawn..... another 'game"?

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 13, 2014, 11:24 GMT

    thumbs down for a double header on a Tuesday.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 13, 2014, 11:31 GMT

    wat ? sanju samson not playing..ok im going b to sleep..

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 13, 2014, 12:18 GMT

    good comeback by csk.. only 64 runs in last 10 overs

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | May 13, 2014, 13:26 GMT

    RR shouldnot have took the wicket of ashwin

  • POSTED BY on | May 13, 2014, 14:05 GMT

    Sanju Samson is the only bright youngester that rose to the occasion this year for India and Watson not playing him, is this IPL really helping Indian cricketers?

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 13, 2014, 14:10 GMT

    oh no mohit should be man of the match.three crucial wickets.his wicket of Watson turn the match to csk.

  • POSTED BY TheUltimateTruth on | May 13, 2014, 14:23 GMT

    Ashwin bowled very poorly. Other than that it was a good all around performance by CSK. Smith at the top, Faf in the middle, Dhoni/Jadeja at the end, and Mohit and Jadeja with the ball all contributed greatly. RR look good too, but seem to be just a bit lacking at the very highest level.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 13, 2014, 14:37 GMT

    for a spinner to concede 34 on this wicket bowling second is criminal. Tambe is really overdoing it these days. trying too many things when all he needs to do is keep it simple and concentrate on his line. he is bowling too far from the wicket.

  • POSTED BY bijuphilip on | May 13, 2014, 14:42 GMT

    RR should not have changed their batting order and playing eleven drastically 1.karun2rahane3samson4watson5smith6hodge7jamesfalkner8binny9battia 10asharma11ftampe

Super Kings v Royals, IPL 2014, Ranchi May 13, 2014

Super Kings complete typical last-over win

The Report by Karthik Krishnaswamy
  shares 46

Play 06:13
MS Dhoni was at hand to complete yet another final-over win for the Super Kings

Chennai Super Kings 149 for 5 (Smith 44, Du Plessis 38, Ankit 2-20) beat Rajasthan Royals 148 for 8 (Watson 51, Ankit 30, Mohit 3-31) by five wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

In two of Chennai Super Kings' last three games, they had been left with 11 to get from the last over with MS Dhoni at the crease. Today, against Rajasthan Royals, it came down to 12 from the last over. Dhoni was there, of course, batting on 15. In situations like that, all he needs is one ball in his slot.

It came off the second ball of the over, the first time he was on strike, when James Faulkner angled one across him but pitched it a touch too full. Down came that big bat-swing, and up went the ball, soaring for a flat six over wide long-on. A wide full-toss brought him two runs to deep cover the next ball, and with three needed off three, a push to the same fielder became the winning hit when Faulkner failed to collect Kevon Cooper's throw and gave away an overthrow.

It had all looked very different when Rajasthan Royals, having chosen to bat, had moved to 84 for 1 after 10 overs. Shane Watson was on the cusp of a half-century, and with him was Ajinkya Rahane. Steven Smith and James Faulkner, who had turned certain defeat to exhilarating victory against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the space of four crazy overs, were waiting their turn in the dugout.

But Super Kings pulled things back, with Mohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja proving particularly hard to hit on a slow, grippy surface, and Royals lost seven wickets and scored only 64 in their last 10 overs. Super Kings looked to have made things more difficult for themselves when Dhoni sent in R Ashwin at No. 5 ahead of himself, but Dhoni always leaves it till the end.

Royals sprung a surprise right at the start, opening with Ankit Sharma and Shane Watson instead of Karun Nair and Ajinkya Rahane, who had put on 54 in their previous match.

The new combination laid a solid foundation, starting sedately before the left-handed Ankit greeted R Ashwin by hitting him for two fours and a six in his first over. Ankit put on 60 with Watson before he holed out to long-on while trying to slog Ashwin against the turn.

Apart from one big over against IPL debutant Vijay Shankar, in which he smashed the medium-pacer for a four and two sixes, Watson had also been kept fairly quiet. Royals' 10-over score, therefore, didn't present the full picture of what had gone before. There had been some help for the spinners, and the seamers had been hard to get away when they changed their pace.

It wasn't that much of a surprise, then, that Royals didn't really take off in the last 10 overs. Mohit used his back-of-the-hand slower ball cleverly to pick up three wickets - including those of Watson and Smith, both bowled - and Ravindra Jadeja picked up two with his round-arm darts from left-arm around.

Even so, the extent of Royals' slow-down was startling, and they contributed to it with their endless experimentation - they waited until the end of the 15th over to send in Smith, and until the 18th to send in Faulkner. Both failed to get going, as had Rahane and Nair before them, displaced from the opening slots.

It left Super Kings 149 to get. Dwayne Smith got them going with his cleanly struck hits down the ground, but they lost wickets at the other end, with Brendon McCullum and Suresh Raina both unlucky to see their sweeps off Ankit going straight to fielders in the circle.

In Pravin Tambe, Kevon Cooper and Rajat Bhatia, Royals possessed three bowlers designed for this sort of pitch, and their cutters and leg-rollers stalled Super Kings' progress, particularly after Smith's dismissal in the 10th over. Du Plessis and Ashwin cobbled together 29 in 29 balls, leaving Super Kings needing 44 from 30 when Dhoni walked in. It was a tricky equation, considering the conditions, but it could have been even trickier had Royals not fallen away so spectacularly in the second half of their innings.

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo