The playoff race: The equation was simple for both sides, a Chennai victory would ensure their spot in the playoffs and quell any chance of Rajasthan featuring in the final four, making it imperative to snatch a victory for the Royals.
Chasing a competitive total of 180 runs, it was the 134-run opening stand between Ambati Rayudu (100 not out) and Shane Watson (57 off 35 balls), which guided the hosts home easily with an over to spare. Rayudu goes down the line and hits a tall SIX and a FOUR. Find us on Facebook too! "It was those runs which helped CSK reach 176 otherwise their total was par". However, Kane Williamson would want to keep up his 6 matches winning spree and would leave no stone unturned to win this game as well.
After eleven games and only three left to be played, Rajasthan Royals has to win the rest of the games to qualify for the playoffs, and their bowler Jaydev Unadkat reiterated how important balance of the team is at this crucial stage. As far as the visitors' bowling is concerned, Sunrisers have the likes of Siddarth Kaul, Rashid Khan, Shakib Al Hasan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar to take on any batting line-up.
Chennai's top run-getter Ambati Rayudu (12) started off with a couple of boundaries before being played on to a delivery that was kicking up from back of the length. Hyderabad had won 188 against Delhi Daredevils by losing a wicket.
By the halfway mark, CSK had galloped to 93 for no loss.
Now comes Rayudu's turn to join the fun and steal all the limelight hogged by Watson until then.
No other batsmen could pose any threat to the Chennai bowlers and the latter managed to restrict them to 179 for four.
The Sunrisers were slow to start off with just 29 runs in the powerplay overs and also lost the wicket of opener Alex Hales (2), mainly due to a fine spell of bowling by medium pacer Deepak Chahar who opened the bowling and had figures of 4-0-16-1.
It was again up to the reliable pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Kane Williamson to take SRH to a good score.
Even experienced players Dhawan and Williamson found it hard to score off Chahar. The duo, however, departed in quick succession to give a twist to the match. Most of the batsmen - Ambati Rayudu, Australian Shane Watson, West Indian Dwayne Bravo, MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina - have contributed whenever the team needed.
Dhoni also insisted that there was enough on the board for CSK to defend on what was a two-paced wicket, on which batsmen struggled to get going straight away. These sessions seemed to have worked for Dhoni, since he has hit as many as 28 sixes this IPL season in 11innings.