Hussey sets up Chennai victory
Mike Hussey’s superb 88 eventually trumped a century from Shane Watson as the Chennai Super Kings pulled off a narrow five-wicket win over the Rajasthan Royals in their Indian Premier League match at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Monday.
Full Scorecard: Chennai v Rajasthan
Watson scored 101, his first T20 century and the first of this year’s IPL, as Rajasthan posted 185 for four after winning the toss and electing to bat.
However, Hussey’s dashing innings, off just 51 balls and with 13 fours and a six, provided the platform for Chennai to reach 186 for five with one ball of their innings remaining.
The hosts began the last over of the match needing 11 runs to win but Dwayne Bravo (15 not out) struck a majestic six over extra cover, off the third ball of the over bowled by Watson, to make sure of the victory.
Chennai, after the early loss of Murali Vijay (3), made a fine fist of their run chase thanks to Hussey and Suresh Raina.
The pair added 90 runs off 10.1 overs for the second wicket before Raina, after making his way to 51 off 35 balls with four fours and two sixes, was trapped leg-before by left-arm quick James Faulkner.
Raina’s departure left the hosts on 112 for two in the 13th over but Hussey continued on his merry way and he plundered three fours off the 16th over, bowled by seamer Kevon Cooper.
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But Hussey’s wonderful innings was ended in the 17th over when he was run out at the keeper’s end after a direct hit from Rahul Dravid at backward point.
Hussey and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (21) had put on 42 runs in just 3.3 overs for the third wicket with Dhoni scoring just six of the runs.
Ravindra Jadeja was bowled by a Faulkner yorker two balls later as Chennai slipped to 154 for four.
Chennai began the penultimate over needing 17 runs to win and Dhoni, battling what looked to be a side strain, holed out to long-on off the bowling of Faulkner before Bravo made sure of the win.
Faulkner ended with the superb figures of 3-20.
Watson had earlier brought up his century off 60 deliveries, but he was out to the next ball that he faced when he was caught at extra cover off the bowling of seamer Bravo with his knock including six fours and six sixes.
The right-handed Watson struck the first ball of the match, bowled by seamer Mohit Sharma, through midwicket for four and the big allrounder brought up his 10th IPL fifty, off just 29 balls, by hammering a massive six over midwicket off the bowling of left-arm spinner Jadeja.
Watson upped his run-scoring rate towards the end of the innings and he needed just six balls to move from 84 to his century, which included hitting two sixes off an over from Jadeja.
Watson and Ajinkya Rahane (16) put on a formidable 71-run first wicket stand off 7.2 overs before Rahane was bowled by a delivery from offspinner Ravi Ashwin that turned sharply in to the right-handed batsman.
Ashwin struck in his next over when he caught and bowled Dishant Yagnik (7) before a Bravo slower ball resulted in Rahul Dravid (6) being caught by keeper Dhoni.
Watson finally found a batting partner in Stuart Binny, who provided aggressive support. The pair added 46 runs for the fourth wicket before Watson’s dismissal in the 18th over.
Binny ended not out on 36 off 22 balls.
Ashwin was the stand-out bowler for Chennai with figures of 2-20 off four overs while Bravo ended with 2-36.
CHENNAI SUPER KINGS: M Vijay, MEK Hussey, SK Raina, S Badrinath, MS Dhoni*†, RA Jadeja, DJ Bravo, CH Morris, R Ashwin, JO Holder, MM Sharma
RAJASTHAN ROYALS: SR Watson, AM Rahane, R Dravid*, STR Binny, BJ Hodge, DH Yagnik†, JP Faulkner, K Cooper, R Shukla, A Chandila, SK Trivedi