Simarjeet, Ruturaj fashion CSK’s 5 wkt win over RR, keeps play off hopes alive

Chennai, May 12 (UNI) After a three wicket haul by medium pacer Simarjeet Singh and a disciplined show by the other bowlers, five-time winners and reigning champion Chennai Super Kings (CSK), overcame a mild wobble midway, before winning by five wickets against Rajasthan Royals in its last home IPL match at the M.A.Chidambaram Stadium on hot Sunday.

Replying to RR’s 141 for five, CSK finished at 145 for five in 18.2 overs, winning with 10 balls to spare in a tense finish.

Chasing a moderate target, CSK started brightly, lost four wickets between 8th and 16th over, before skipper Ruturaj Gaikwad, who held the innings together, stayed till the end to keep the team’s hopes alive for a place in the play offs.

Opener Ruturaj remained unbeaten on 42 (41 balls, 1×4, 2×6), and Sameer Rizvi (15 not out, 8 balls, 3×4) struck three fours, including two in a row of left arm pacer Trent Boult, to complete the win and earn crucial two points.

CSK jumped to the third spot with 14 points (seven wins in 13 matches) and need to win its last league match against RCB at Bengaluru on Saturday next to confirm its spot in the knockout.

Sunrisers Hyderabad too had 14 points (12 matches), but CSK was placed ahead on better net run rate.

This was 50th win at home for CSK in its 71st IPL match at the iconic Chepauk stadium.

For RR, which suffered its third successive loss and remained in the second spot with 16 points (8 wins in 12 matches) off spinner R.Ashwin picked two for 35 in four overs, while Yuzuvendra Chahal and pacer Nandre Burger claimed a wicket each.

Earlier, batting first on a strip that had bounce and carry for the pacers, Simarjeet Singh picked a wicket each in his first three overs, including two in the first spell of two overs, before Tushar Desphande came up with two wickets in the final over to restrict RR to 141 for five. Spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Maheesha Theekshana too bowled a tight length to check the run flow.

Chasing a tricky target, CSK got off to a rollicking start with Rachin Ravindra hitting two sixers and a four in his 18-ball 27 and no.3 Daryl Mitchell played a short cameo of 13-ball 22 (4×4) as the home team scored 56 for two at the end of power play.

After Rachin was caught by offie R.Ashwin of his own bowling, Mitchell was trapped by wrist spinner Yuzvendra Chahal as CSK was pegged back at 67 for two by the eighth over.

While Ruturaj played the role of a sheet anchor, two more quick wickets that off left handers Mooen Ali (10) and Shivam Dube, who scored a quickfire 18 (11 balls, 2×4, 1×6, including 14 in one over of spinner R.Ashwin) )–both holding out in the deep going for big shots off pacer Nandre Burger and Ashwin respectively–caused some anxious moments for CSK, which scored 116 for four in 15 overs and needed further 26 in the last five.

More trouble is in store for CSK lost Ravindra Jadeja (5) who was declared dramatically out for obstructing the field in the 16th over.

After gliding medium pacer Avesh Khan to the third man, Jadeja rushed for the second run, but was sent back by Gaikwad. RR skipper and wicket-keeper Sanju Samson collected the throw and fired at the non-striker’s catching Jadeja on the back in the process.

After RR appealed for obstructing the field, he was declared out by the third umpire.

But Ruturaj and impact player Sameer Rizvi (for Mitchell) ensured there were no further hiccups, adding 24 runs for the unbroken sixth wicket in 15 balls to fashion an important win to keep their chances alive of a place in the play offs.

It was a good performance by the batters. Rachin blazed away in the powerplay. Mitchell did so with a brief knock. The 14 runs Dube scored off Ashwin in one over, ultimately tilted the scales in CSK’s favour.

There was a moment of drama when Jadeja was dismissed for obstructing the field, but Gaikwad and Rizvi’s partnership meant, CSK romped home in the end with the play off in sight, much to the relief in the dug out.

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