On a typical slow Chepauk pitch, pacer Simarjeet Singh’s fine spell (three for 26) and skipper Ruturaj Gaikwad’s measured unbeaten 42 helped Chennai Super Kings beat Rajasthan Royals by five wickets at the MAC stadium here on Sunday. 

Electing to bat, the Royals batters grappled with the challenging conditions on a surface where the ball gripped and did not come onto the bat easily to manage only 141 for five. 

After a cautious start, Yashavi Jaiswal stepped up a gear in the fourth, slog-sweeping Maheesh Theekshana for a six and then late-cut him for a boundary. In the next over, Jaiswal went after Shardul Thakur with consecutive boundaries as the Royals finished on 42 for no loss in the PowerPlay.

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However, during the middle overs, things went pear-shaped for the visitors when Simarjeet struck twice in his first two to remove the openers Jaiswal and Jos Buttler. The pacer was accurate, targeting the good length area and tucked up the batters without giving width.

CSK’s Simarjeet Singh

CSK’s Simarjeet Singh
| Photo Credit:
B. Jothi Ramalingam / The Hindu

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CSK’s Simarjeet Singh
| Photo Credit:
B. Jothi Ramalingam / The Hindu

Jaiswal was the first to go, trying to swat Simarjeet, but ended up slicing a skier to Ruturaj before Buttler scooped straight to fine-leg fielder Tushar Deshpande. Ravindra Jadeja then further squeezed the runs with his attacking line at the stumps, tying down the in-form Sanju Samson. 

At the other end, Riyan Parag (47 n.o.) did his best with a few sixes to keep the scoreboard moving, while Dhruv Jurel (28) gave the innings some impetus towards the end.

CSK skipper Ruturaj Gaikwad

CSK skipper Ruturaj Gaikwad
| Photo Credit:
B. Jothi Ramalingam / The Hindu

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CSK skipper Ruturaj Gaikwad
| Photo Credit:
B. Jothi Ramalingam / The Hindu

Chasing a modest target, Ruturaj held fort at one end while Rachin Ravindra and Daryl Mitchell chipped in with cameos. The visitors fought back in the middle overs without conceding a boundary for 39 balls. But Shivam Dube calmed the nerves when he hit R. Ashwin for a six and two boundaries in the 14th over to set the home team on the path to victory.

Ahead of the game, there was trepidation about whether it would be M.S. Dhoni’s last outing in Chennai. The seventh win for CSK has kept the door open for the side to mAake the playoffs and a chance for Dhoni to play again in the city if the defending champion features in Qualifier 2 or the final.

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