Jaipur, May 10: Albie Morkel and Srikkanth Anirudha pulled off an exciting four-wicket victory for Chennai Super Kings against Rajasthan Royals to keep them in the hunt for play-offs in IPL 5 here at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium on Thursday night.
IPL 5: Points Table
The Game 56 of this season's IPL was a low-scoring affair. With wickets tumbling and Rajasthan inching closer to a win, Morkel and Anirudha stunned the home team with unbeaten knocks of 18 each off six balls apiece.
Morkel, who had played a similar knock against Royal Challengers Bangalore, was instrumental in securing this win as Chennai completed the 127-run chase in 18.1 overs with four wickets in hand.
Chennai needed 50 runs in the last five overs. Morkel and Anirudha scored an incredible 43 runs in 1.5 overs to take them over the line. Both batsmen hit two sixes and a four apiece.
With 30 required off the final three overs, Shane Watson's 18th over was the turning point. Morkel took 18 off it and in the next over bowled by Shaun Tati, Anirudha sent the first ball for a six. He was bowled off a no ball in the next and the free hit was sprayed wide on the legside and went for five byes, sealing success for the MS Dhoni-led side.
Anirudh was playing his first match this season after S Badrinath was ruled out of the game as he was not well.
Rajasthan Royals Innings Report
Chennai Super Kings made good use of the conditions to restrict Rajasthan Royals to 126/6 in 20 overs.
Ben Hilfenhaus was outstanding with the new ball as he bowled four overs on the trot. He had bowling figures of 4-1-8-2. It was a great comeback for him after being hammered for 14 runs in the final three balls of the match by Mumbai Indians all-rounder Dwayne Smith to win the game.
Hilfenhaus bowled a maiden over in the second of the innings and also dismissed Rahul Dravid in the same over. He later added the scalp of his countryman Shane Watson. The conditions did suit the bowlers after three rain interruptions.
In the final overs, it was Brad Hodge who brought some respectability to the total with a top score of 33 off 28 balls with two fours and one six. Yo Mahesh also took two wickets while Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja had one each.
The home batsmen never came to terms with the pitch conditions. Throughout the innings they struggled to score runs. There were only two sixes and 12 boundaries.
Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni won the toss and elected to field first against Rajasthan Royals. However, rain halted play after just one ball bowled. After 55 minutes of delay, play resumed. Again rain returned and stopped play.
Chennai have made two changes. S Badrinath and Faf du Plessis are not well and Michael Hussey and Srikkanth Anirudha come in. It is for the first time in IPL history, Badrinath is missing a game for Chennai. He has played 74 games in a row. Suresh Raina is the player now to not miss a game. He is playing in his 75th match.
"Missing first game for csk in 5 years.down with viral flu.watching on tv from my bed in the hotel room," tweeted Badrinath (@badrinath33).
For Rajasthan, Brad Hodge returns in place of Owais Shah. Paceman Siddarth Trivedi became the most capped player for Rajasthan as he is playing his 56th game.
RR are fifh in the table with 12 points from 12 games. CSK have 11 from same number of matches and are placed seventh.
Rajasthan Royals: Rahul Dravid (captain), Siddharth Trivedi, Shane Watson, Shaun Tait, Dishant Yagnik (wicketkeeper), Brad Hodge, Johan Botha, Stuart Binny, Ashok Menaria, Pankaj Singh, Ajinkya Rahane.
Umpires: Bruce Oxenford (Australia) and SS Shamsuddin (India)
Third Umpire: Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka)
Match Referee: Andy Pycroft (Zimbabwe)