Chennai: Naman Ojha’s valiant 94 not-out was not enough to deny Chennai Super Kings a hard-fought 23 run victory after chasing an improbable 247 runs for victory, Rajasthan Royals were restricted to 223/f from their 20 overs.
Chasing an improbable 247 runs for victory, Royals made a spirited start, reaching their first 50 runs in the first ball of the sixth over.
Michael Lumb, after struggling initially, got into his grove with some sweetly timed boundaries while Naman Ojha too was playing a good foil.
However the pressure of maintaining a run-rate in excess of 12 runs per over led to Lumb’s dismissal. Trying to force the issue, he was caught in the deep off Morkel after making 37 runs off 26 balls. He hit six fours and a six.
Some brilliant presence of mind by Doug Bollinger, coupled with fantastic aerobics on the boundary rope by him brought an end to not only Yusuf Pathan’s innings, but also dealt a serious blow to Rajasthan’s aspirations.
Pathan flattered to deceive, falling in the second ball he faced, having smacked the first ball he faced for a four.
Shane Watson and Ojha then raised a 97 run-partnership of just 43 balls before Doug Bollinger returned to clean bowled the former.
Watson, playing his first match in this year’s IPL made a 25 ball 60, which in the e4nd proved to be a vain effort. He had hit 5 sixes and 5 fours in a match that produced a record 30 sixes.
Six of those sixes came from Ojha’s blade besides his 8 fours in his 55 ball effort that even though couldn’t win the match for his team, was sufficient enough to win the hearts of those of whom who watched him in action.
The 247 run target proved to be a bridge too far in the end for the Jaipur owned franchisee.
Vijay’s 127 carries Chennai to 246/5
A mind boggling 152 run-association between Murali Vijay and Albie Morkel propelled Chennai Super Kings to a massive 246/5 from their allotted 20 overs in an Indian Premier League match here on Saturday.
The partnership, that came off just 66 balls, virtually knocked the stuffing out of the Rajasthan Royals’ bowlers on a pitch that was a belter as Chennai recording the highest ever score in this years’ IPL.
The attack was relentless throughout when Vijay and Morkel were at the crease with the both the batsmen pulverizing the Rajasthan bowlers with brutality so far unseen in this edition of the IPL.
From 91/2 after 10 overs, Chennai added a further 155 runs in the final 10 overs including 76 runs in the final 5 overs.
Continuing his rich vein of form, Vijay also became the second Indian to slam a century in the IPL, reaching his three-figure mark off just 47 balls.
The most stand-out feature of his effort was that he relied on proper cricketing shots to get his runs proving that in any form of cricket, there is absolutely no asset as a ‘good technique’.
He eventually fell in the final over, caught on the ropes trying to clear Shane Watson, but not before he had plundered as many as 11 sixes and 8 fours. He eventually fell after making 127 runs off just 56 balls.
Albie Morkel to kept up the tempo, slamming a half-century himself, making 62 runs from just 34 balls with 2 fours and 5 sixes.
In the process, with 17 sixes in the innings, Chennai also created a record for maximum sixes ever hit by a team.
Earlier, along with Matthew Hayden, Vijay had provided Chennai a flying start who, after having won the toss and electing to bat first, raced away to 50 runs without loss in just 5 overs.
Rajasthan Royals’ bowlers seemed to lack penetration early on, enabling their rivals to indulge in some scintillating strokeplay.
However, Hayden was the first wicket to fall when he slashed a drive down Shane Watson’s throat at extra cover in the sixth over against the run of play of the bowling of Shrikant Wagh.
He made 34 runs off 21 balls with 5 fours and a six.
Suresh Raina too frittered away a good start when he fell for 13 runs after failing to clear the circle off Shane Warne’s bowling.
Shaun Tait took the catch that brought curtains to his 7 ball stay. He hit 2 fours.
But in the end, that did not matter as Vijay and Morkel took the center stage.
Meanwhile, Australian left-arm pacer Doug Bollinger inclusion bolstered Chennai Super Kings bowling prowess while international teammate all-rounder Shane Watson was drafted in for his first match of IPL-III byRajasthan Royals captain Shane Warne.
Chennai Super Kings (Playing XI): Srikkanth Anirudha, Matthew Hayden, Murali Vijay, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni(w/c), Subramaniam Badrinath, Albie Morkel, Shadab Jakati, Muttiah Muralitharan, Doug Bollinger, Sudeep Tyagi
Rajasthan Royals (Playing XI): Shane Watson, Michael Lumb, Naman Ojha(w), Yusuf Pathan, Faiz Fazal, Abhishek Jhunjunwala, Shane Warne(c), Shrikant Wagh, Abhishek Raut, Sumit Narwal, Shaun Tait