Dashing Dhoni pushes Chennai to top of table

India

Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni powered the Chennai Super Kings to a relatively comfortable five-wicket triumph over the Rajasthan Royals in Tuesday's key Indian Premier League fixture at the JSCA International Stadium Complex in Ranchi.

Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni powered the Chennai Super Kings to a relatively comfortable five-wicket triumph over the Rajasthan Royals in Tuesday's key Indian Premier League fixture at the JSCA International Stadium Complex in Ranchi.

The result pushed the Chennai franchise two points clear of former log leaders Kings XI Punjab, who will have the opportunity to level the scales come Wednesday's showdown with the Sunrisers Hyderabad in Uppal.

Rajasthan captain Shane Watson's choice to bat first after winning the toss promised more than a disappointing final total of 148 for eight. The Royals were largely troubled by seamer Mohit Sharma, who characteristic slower balls earned fine figures of three for 31.

He was well complemented by spin triplets Ravindra Jadeja, Samuel Badree and Ravichandran Ashwin, although the latter's leg-side line prove costly through the closing throes of the innings.

IPL debutant Vijay Shankar, meanwhile, endured a damaging outing. The medium-pacer conceded a hefty 19 overs from a solitary over, as Watson clouted back-to-back sixes en route to a quickfire half-century.

The Super Kings' pursuit was hampered by the early departures of opener Brendon McCullum and the left-handed Suresh Raina – but corrected by West Indian Dwayne Smith's fine form at the top of the order and South African recruit Faf du Plessis' stoic stay.

The Proteas Twenty20 International captain battled a hamstring for the bulk of an otherwise smooth cameo – and is in doubt for Sunday's encounter with the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Perhaps the veteran David Hussey, who was recently called up as a replacement for the injured Dwayne Bravo, will stand in for du Plessis on the weekend.

Dhoni was ultimately at hand to seal the deal. Remaining cool, calm and collected in the face of a ballooning asking rate, the stalwart right-hander clouted seamer James Faulkner for the six, two and three needed for triumph with two balls to spare.

Latest