This was the Dhoni they all loved. This was the Dhoni they all came to see at Chennai. This was the vintage Dhoni. The Dhoni that went ballistic in death overs and muscled the ball deep in the stands with his powerful arms. By hammering three sixes off the last three balls against RR, Dhoni showed that he still retains his old aura.
And then emerged Dwayne Bravo, CSK’s death over specialist. He kept his cool and defended 12 off the last over against Stokes and Archer and gave Chennai their third consecutive win in IPL 2019. Meanwhile Rajasthan once again had a ‘ so close yet so far’ moment.
The duo of Ambati Rayudu and Shane Watson is known for brisk starts. But RR had them covered as Jofra Archer and Dhawal Kulkarni kept the noose tight and Ben Stokes chipped in as well.
CSK were tottering at 27 for three wickets in the fifth over as Watson, Rayudu and Jadhav departed cheaply but once again the experience of Raina and Dhoni bailed out the Men in Yellow.
Raina batted solidly but failed to make a big one as he was out for 36 runs off 32 balls in the 14th over. But then Dwayne Bravo played a cameo of 27 off 16 balls while Dhoni played the anchor role to perfection.
The CSK skipper shifted gears in the last two overs and went unplugged against Jaydev Unadkat in the 20th over. He scored three sixes off last three balls that propelled the score to 175 runs and Dhoni walked off unbeaten on 75 off 46 balls.
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Rajasthan had a horrific start as Ajinkya Rahane was out on the second ball of the innings and their big guns Sanju Samson and Jos Buttler departed early as well.
Rahul Tripathi showed his class and scored a quick 39 off 24 balls as Steve Smith provided the stability with 28 off 30 balls. However few tidy overs in the middle overs saw RR lose control of the chase until Jofra Archer slammed 24 off 11 balls to bring Rajasthan back in the game.
However Bravo ensured Chennai had the last laugh by removing dangerous Ben Stokes inn the 20th over for 46 off 26 balls.