IPL 2024: Chennai Super Kings vs Rajasthan Royals, 61st Match - Who Said What?

The five-time champions have now moved to third spot in the points table with seven wins and 14 points.

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Chennai Super Kings
Chennai Super Kings. (Source -IPL/BCCI)

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) kept their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 playoff hopes alive with a five-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals (RR). The five-time champions have now moved to third spot in the points table with seven wins and 14 points. Meanwhile, worrying signs are emerging for the inaugural edition champions as the tournament moves towards its business end.

Royals have now suffered three successive defeats. However, the second-placed side have two more matches left in the league stage to secure a playoff berth. Electing to bat first, RR failed to show the right approach for most of the innings. Their openers added 42 in the powerplay but both got out in quick succession. The CSK bowlers did not let the visitors control the game, but Riyan Parag and Dhruv Jurel managed to find runs towards the end.

Although the pitch was not favourable for the batters, the target of 142 was never going to threaten the CSK batters. The hosts utilized the powerplay maximum with Rachin Ravindra and Daryl Mitchell playing aggressively. Royals managed to take a few wickets later on but CSK never lost control as they won with 10 balls to spare.

1. Simarjeet Singh shines with match-winning 3/26

Simarjeet Singh was the top performer for CSK in the first innings. The right-arm pacer did not allow the RR openers to settle down with his variations and removed both Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jos Buttler in quick succession right after the powerplay. He added one more to his tally right when Sanju Samson and Rian Parag started to build a partnership. Including the RR skipper's wicket, Simarjeet finished with figures of 3/26 in his four overs.

2. Aggressive cameo from Rachin Ravindra and Daryl Mitchell

Rachin Ravindra became the aggressor as captain Ruturaj Gaikwad decided to be the anchor. The Kiwi batter was dismissed in the fourth over but his 18-ball 27 on a sluggish surface gave CSK a much-needed start. Daryl Mitchell continued his fine form. The right-hander smashed 22 runs off just 13 balls to give CSK a superb powerplay of 56 runs.  

3. Ruturaj Gaikwad hold his nerve

Captain Ruturaj Gaikwad promoted himself to the opening slot and decided to play an anchoring role given the behaviour of the pitch. While Ravindra and Mitchell continued their attacking play, the right-hander played calmly to hold wickets at one end. He remained unbeaten on 42 runs off 41 balls to take his team over the line.

Losing captain Sanju Samson said:

“I think after the powerplay the message was slow and two paced. Hence after the powerplay the score we were expecting was 170, we were short 20-25 runs. Simarjeet bowled really well. We are not really sure what to expect from away games. We thought batting first was the better option. They had a better idea of what to chase being used to playing here, we thought it would have been slower in the second innings, but the wicket was instead better. When you play at night chasing is a no brainer due to the dew. The pitch gets heated up during summers so I expected the wicket to slow down in the second innings. It's normal to keep on thinking about qualification, need to focus on what is under our control. I would like to tell my team mates need to focus on things that are in our hand. Need to focus on the process and hope to win the next game.”

Winning captain Ruturaj Gaikwad said:

“Wonderful feeling, especially in our last home game of the league stage. Good to get a win. When we were 55-1, I felt we were cruising. One or two wickets can allow the opposition to get back. As a team, we have stroke-players so my job was to stay there till the end. Generally, I thought we were cruising and there was no pressure until the end. (On the pitch) Definitely we would love to play on such wickets. It brings our spinners into play and with huge boundaries, there is an amount of risk to hit sixes. (On bowling into the pitch) That is always the plan whenever you come here. Sometimes, the wicket is flatter and we go to the yorkers. When the wicket is slow and you have a bigger side, you want to take the pace off.”

POTM Simarjeet Singh said:

“I am very thankful to the CSK management, the physio and my trainer to treat me the way they did when I was injured. It is a blessing. (On bowling in the middle overs) I think, after seeing the wicket, the captain decided, and we stuck to the plan. We saw how the pitch was behaving, and then I spoke to him (the captain) and decided what we wanted to do.”

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