Late onslaught sees Chennai cruise home

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Superb late hitting from Albie Morkel and Srikkanth Anirudha turned Thursday night's match on its head as the Chennai Super Kings clinched a crucial clash.

Superb late hitting from Albie Morkel and Srikkanth Anirudha turned Thursday night's match on its head as the Chennai Super Kings clinched a crucial clash against the Rajasthan Royals by six wickets.

With both sides hovering in mid-table the points on offer were key to the race to the playoffs, and Rajasthan looked likely to take them when they reduced Chennai to 84 for six in the 17th over in their attempt to defend a low 126 for six on a sluggish wicket.

However Morkel and Anirudha took no time to settle in, and struck six boundaries in just 12 deliveries to take Chennai to a comfortable victory with 11 deliveries to spare.

With the ball failing to come onto the bat the Super Kings top order had struggled to keep pace even with a modest required run rate, with most batsmen attempting to play themselves in.

In theory it was a good idea but as they lost wickets at regular intervals – with Michael Hussey (19) and Suresh Raina (23) the most important men to go – it never translated into good practice.

When MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja fell within two deliveries of each other it looked as if Chennai had fluffed it, only for Morkel and Srikkanth to each hammer 18 from six deliveries to clinch the two points on offer.

The Rajasthan Royals had managed a scratchy innings after they were put in to bat on a sluggish pitch amongst intermittent rain.

The knock was disrupted for 54 minutes after just one delivery had been bowled, and that lack of fluency was translated into their efforts with the bat as only Brad Hodge and Stuart Binny gave the Chennai bowlers something to think about.

A combined failure by the Rajasthan top three saw the home side slump to 40 for three with almost nine overs of their innings used up, before Binny and Hodge finally plundered some boundaries to get the total moving.

However Binny's 18-ball stay was brought to an end with his score on 23 when he pulled straight to short midwicket, where he found Raina, who in the process of taking part in the match became the only player to never miss an IPL match since the tournament began in 2008.

Raina had shared the record with teammate Subramaniam Badrinath until the latter was ruled out of Thursday's clash with an upset stomach.

Johan Botha laboured to 12 until he was bowled by Jadeja, and Hodge fell soon after when he was trapped lbw by Ravichandran Ashwin for 33.

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