Jos Buttler scored a fine unbeaten fifty as Rajasthan Royals beat Chennai Super Kings by seven wickets to stay in hunt for a playoff spot. With the fourth win of the season, Royals also moved to the fifth spot in the points table.
Chasing 126, Royals were off to a shaky start as they lost three quick wickets to find themselves reeling at 28 for 3. Ben Stokes started well and helped Royals race away to 20 in 2 overs before Deepak Chahar sent him back on the last ball of the third over and end his 26-run stand with Robin Uthappa.
Two balls later, Josh Hazlewood accounted for Uthappa and even before Royals could add one more to their total, Chahar struck again to send back Sanju Samson for a three-ball duck.
But before CSK could make further inroads in the game, Steve Smith and Jos Buttler steadied the ship. The duo shared an unbeaten stand of 98 runs to take Royals over the line with utmost ease in the end. Buttler scored 70 while Smith scored 26.
Earlier in the match, CSK batsmen came up with yet another poor show with the bat as they managed just 125 for 5 in the allotted 20 overs. Ravindra Jadeja top-scored for the side, scoring an unbeaten 35 from 30 balls. MS Dhoni scored 28 while Sam Curran scored 22. For the Royals, Shreyas Gopal was the pick of the bowlers, conceding just 14 runs off his four overs while dismissing Curran.
Steve Smith’s reaction:
Speaking at the end of the match, Steve Smith said the pitch was not easy for batting as the ball was stopping before coming onto the bat before expressing his delight over the crucial win. He also had some words of praise for the likes of Gopal, Rahul Tewatia and Buttler.
“The wicket was stoppy, wasn’t easy for batting. Strange game but nice to be on the winning side. I thought we bowled pretty well in the powerplay and the spinners did a goood job in the middle with their leggies and googlies and squeezing,” said the Royals skipper.
Shreyas last two years has been sensational for us and Tewatia this year whether batting, bowling or fielding, has done the job. Buttler’s innings took the pressure off me at the other end. It was a really good innings on a wicket that wasn’t the easiest,” he added.