Rajasthan Royals' batman plays a shot during the match in Sharjah.
Mohammad Abdullah, Staff Reporter
Riding on ruthless display of batting by Sanju Samson (74), Steve Smith (69) and Jofra Archer (27 n.o.), Rajasthan Royals (RR) defeated Chennai Super Kings (CSK) by 16 runs in their opening match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.
Royals posted a huge total of 216/7 and restricted SCK to 200/6. A late surge by Faf Du Plessis (72) and MS Dhoni (29 n.o.), was not enough to take Chennai over the line.
In reply, CSK were given a fiery start by Shane Watson (33) as he along with Murali Vijay added 56 runs for the first wicket.
After his departure, CSK batsmen crumbled like a stack of cards under pressure and kept on losing the wickets at regular interval to be reduced to 77-4 from 56-1.
Du Plessis waged the lone battle single-handedly and tried to reignite some hopes with some big hits toward the end of the inning. But the damage had been done. He smashed 36-ball 72 with the help of seven sixes.
Earlier, the iconic Sharjah Cricket Stadium witnessed a carnage of CSK bolwers, who were reduced to mere cannon fodders, as Rajasthan batsmen trampled over the ambitions, if any, of toothless bowling attack.
The trio of the Royals’ batsmen tore apart the bowling of attack of CSK to light up the stadium with some firework.
Samson, who began the bloodshed, was at his devastating best. He smacked 32-ball 74 and added 121 runs in just 9.2 overs for the second wicket with skipper Smith, who missed all three ODIs after suffering from concussion in England.
Samson was the more brutal of the two as he traded only in one currency -- boundaries. He threw away everything to the ropes that was hurled at him.
Samson raced to his fifty off just 19 balls with a single after hitting Chawla off two consecutive deliveries on the two previous balls. He finished the over with two more sixes, collecting 28 runs in the eighth over to take the score to 96/1.
Jadeja tried to pull it back in the next over, conceding just four runs. To the joy of the Royals’ batsmen, Chawla was brought back onto the attack. They again plundered 19 runs off his over.
Dhoni had to think of some other option to contain the Royals’ batsmen, who were cruising along like a rampaging bull. In the 12th over, South African pacer Lungi Ngidi brought some temporary relief to the Chennai camp by getting rid of Samson. He hit nine sixes and one four during his stay at the crease.
But the misery of the CSK bowlers did not seem to be ending as after the departure of Samson, Smith took the charge in his hands. CSK bowlers did try to pull it back with a few quick wickets but failed to stop Smith’s relentless march.
CSK heaved a sigh of relief when Sam Curran had Smith caught by Jadhav in the 19th over, oblivious of the fact the worst was yet to come. Smith hit four boundaries and as many over the fence.
Archer made his way to the crease. Arhcer hit Ngidi for four consecutive sixes of which two were off the free-hits. They collected 30 runs off the last over to notch up the highest total of the IPL 2020. Archer’s cameo of 27 runs off eight balls was studded with four sixes.
Run Rate: 10.80
Chennai Super Kings
Run Rate: 10.00
With the all-important play-offs berths still at stake, three of the four teams featuring in Sunday’s double-header will have the last chance to flourish and advance in the current edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) .
Chasing, Hyderabad got off to stuttering start as captain David Warner fell short of his ground while scrambling for a run in just the second over of the innings.
Prithvi hit nine boundaries and one six during his stint at the crease. He was well supported by Shikhar Dhawan (33).
Ali's 151-run stand with fellow opener Abdullah Shafique helped bring play to an end before lunch on the final day, beating their first-innings partnership by five. The duo had already made 109 overnight, chasing 202.
Messi, 34, held off the challenge of Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski, Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema and Chelsea’s Jorginho to collect the prize and move two clear in his long-running battle with five-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo, who was among the 30 players shortlisted but did not feature in the top three for the first time in 11 years.
Ronaldo wrote on his Instagram account, “I would like to talk about the statements of Pascal Ferre, in which he said that my only ambition is to end my football career with more Golden Balls than Lionel Messi, and that's a lie.”