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Royals~~ winning streak continues, beat Chennai

Published: Saturday, May 24, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
 
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Chennai: Albie Morkel's fighting 71 off 40 balls went in vain as Rajastan Royals registered a 10-run win over Chennai Super Kings in their Indian Premier League match at MA Chidambaram stadium in Chennai today.

Chasing 212 to win, the Chennai side managed only 201 runs in 20 overs despite Morkel, who was Super Kings' most successful bowler as well with two wickets for 35 runs, kept Chennai in hunt untill the final over.

Chennai needed 15 runs from final over bowled by Sohail Tanvir and considering the presense of in-form batsman Morkel, it was not at all a difficult task. But the lanky paceman from Pakistan kept an immacculate line and length and conceded only four runs.

While Rajasthan Royals already in the semi finals, swelled their points to 20 at the top of the table, the Super Kings remained at 14 and would have to defeat Deccan Challengers in their last outing at Hyderabad on May 27 to earn a berth in the semi finals.

Scorecard

Though Chennai lost opener Stephen Fleming too early, Partiv Patel and Suresh Raina provided Chennai an ideal start and Chennai reached 81 runs in eight overs before Shane Warne deceived Suresh Raina, who was batting at 45, to offer a catch to Kaif at deep mid-wicket. Raina slammed six hits to the fence and two over it.

Albie Morkel, who joined Partiv after Raina's wicket, started off cautiously; but showed his real colours once he got set. He slammed nine boundaries and four sixes in his gritty knock whereas Patel chipped in with 54 runs off 40 balls. Patel looked to be in a hurry to finish off the match after he scored his fifty and paid the price.

With scorecard reading 157/2 in 15 overs, the young batsman from Gujarat thought it was the time to go after Royals bowlers and overstepped to hit Warne over the top; but only to throw away his wicket as Kamran Akmal made no mistake while stumping him.

Dhoni, who came to bat amidst home crowd's electrifying cheers, failed to impress and a Sohail Tanvir delivery, which came slower than expected, ended the Chennai skipper's innings in the 18th over as Kaif comfortably grabbed an easy catch at long off.

The hosts were 182 for 4 off 17.4 overs. Local lad S Badrinath joined Morkel. The match going down to the wire, at 186 for 4, as the Super Kings neded 26 runs from 11 balls. But they lost their fifth wicket, as Badrinath's pull was caught on the fence by Kohli off Munaf for one, facing two balls.

At 188-5 in 18.4 overs, as Ghoni walked in, the battle was virtually lost for Super Kings, needing 15 from the last over. They got three and needed 12 from the last three balls and 11 from the last two balls.

However, in the space of two balls, it was all over for Super Kings as Morkel (71, 40 balls, four sixes and four fours) and IPL debutant Abhinav Mukund, another left hander were dismissed in tandem by the Pakistan seamer Tanvir Sohail and Morkel by Pankaj Singh.

Earlier, Perched assertively at the top of the points table, Rajasthan Royals, spurred by a brilliant 51-ball 91 by opener Graeme Smith and Swapnil Asnodkar's 41, made 211 for five.

Smith and Asnodkar added 127 runs off 68 balls for the first wicket after which their Pakistani stumper Kamran Akmal held one end to score an unbeaten 53 off 28 balls with three sixes and four fours.

Smith'innings included nine fours and four sixes while Asnodkar used just 27 balls to reach 41 much to the glee of near full crowd, which had come to watch Super Kings for the last time in a home match.

The Super Kings brought in another young upcoming talent in form of left-hander Abhinav Mukund, who was part of the World Cup winning under-19 Indian team.

The Royals' captain Shane Warne had earlier stated that the Kings' fighting prowess would not be taken lightly, went into the match without star player Shane Watson of Australia and Mahesh Rawat.

Warne had won the toss and decided to bat first. They raced to their first 50 in 4.5 overs with openers left hander Graeme Smith, the Proteas captain and Goan Swapnil Asnodkar not sparing the Super Kings pace bowlers M Ntini, M S Ghoni and Albie Morkel, who came on in the fourth over.

Asnodkar and Smith were striking the ball with aplomb and the not so agile fielding of the Super Kings helped them a lot. The Royals were scoring at the rate of 11 runs per over and Smith greeted medium pacer L Balaji, lifting him over long off for a six when he came on to bowl in the eighth over. They were 84 for no loss in 7.2 overs. Smith posted his 50 in 27 balls with seven fours and a six.

The Royals posted their 100 in 9.4 overs without losing any wicket and the Super Kings' cup of misery was full to the brim when in the 11th over medium pacer Balaji was hit for 20 runs. But at 127, the Royals suffered their first blow when Asnodkar was run out at the wicket keeper's end as Smith called him for a run. Asnodkar made 41 off 27 balls with two sixes and a four. His first wicket stand with Smith was worth 127 runs off 68 balls.

The Royals posted the 150 mark. But they had another setback as Smith, nine runs short of his century, went for a big shot over extra cover and holed out to Dhoni. He hit nine fours and four sixes in his 61 ball knock that put his team in the driver's seat. It was now upto Yusuf Pathan, the big hitter in the Rajasthan team to boost the score beyond the reach of Super Kings when the latter reply.

However, the Super Kings struck removing Yusuf, the elder sibling of Irfan Pathan when the batsman trying to clear mid off holed out to Muralitharan off pacer Albie Morkel after making six runs with one four. The Royals were 3-170 off 16.2 overs and in some spot with the overs running out eventhogh a score of 200 in no doubt.

The Royals suffered another loss when a diving Abhinav Muknd at short third man took a low catch to dismiss Md Kaif for 11 off seven balls. Morkel, picked up his second wicket.

The Royals, who were 199 for 4, then posted the 200 mark off 18.3 overs as Taruwar Kohli came in. Akmal, who had been holding one end posted his 50 off 26 balls and the Royals innings ended for 211 for 5 off the last ball when Kohli was run out after he failed to make the ground of a throw from Badrinath.

thatsCricket
With inputs from UNI

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