Chennai: It was clearly a game that was set up by two Australian openers- Chennai Super King Michael Hussey and Rajasthan Royal Shane Watson
Let’s start with Michael Hussey.
Chasing Rajasthan’s 186-run target, Hussey and Vijay got off a sedate start, taking just three singles off the first over from Ajit Chandila. Rahul Shukla however wasn’t as lucky as Mr.Cricket struck two fours in the second over, to get things started for the hosts. He then smashed a six off Chandila in the following over to help CSK move into first gear. One single later, Chandila would celebrate.
Murali Vijay caught and bowled.
Hussey didn’t take his foot off the accelerator, pulling and driving Shukla for fours. New batsman Suresh Raina followed his partner’s cue, and the duo kept Royals skipper Rahul Dravid on his toes, as each of his bowling changes were milked for boundaries. Both left-handers ran the ones and twos when they were on offer; while Raina helped himself to a majestic six over long off off Watson.
At the end of the 10th over, Chennai were 92/1.
James Faulkner broke through the 90-run partnership, by trapping Raina leg-before-wicket. Hussey however stuck to the task at hand, punishing Stuart Binny and Siddharth Trivedi, by making room and finding the gaps. Kevon Cooper too wasn’t spared, as the Aussie smashed three fours in a row to bring the target down to 32 from 24.
Then came the twist.
Hussey went for a single that had risk written all over it, and Dhoni could only watch from the other end as Rahul Dravid hit the stumps with a direct throw, to send Hussey back for 88. One ball later, Ravindra Jadeja was yorked for a duck. Chennai 154/4.
It would be upto Dhoni and Bravo now. After taking 12 off Cooper, Dhoni was clearly getting cramped, as he got set to face Faulkner in the penultimate over of the match. Both batsmen added six runs to the scoreboard, before Dhoni was caught by Binny at long on off the last ball.
11 needed from 6.
It would be a contest between Dwayne Bravo and Shane Watson. Chris Morris did the right thing, taking a single to give Bravo strike. Watson sent down a dot ball, before Bravo went inside out, to hit a six over sweeper cover. The West Indian then took two, after hitting a full toss to long on. Needing two off two, Bravo again took two to help Chennai register a five-wicket win. As his team ran from the dugout, he took his helmet off and celebrated with a spontaneous jig.
Before suffering the ignominy of bowling the last over with the ball, Shane Watson had done well in his padded avatar, hitting the first century of IPL 2013, to help the Rajasthan Royals rake up a majestic total of 185/4. The right-hander struck six sixes and six fours, carrying on while he was losing partners at the other end. Not that they could be blamed, for the Aussie was hogging the lion’s share of the strike.
While Rahane, Yagnik and Dravid walked back, Watson (101) found an able ally in Stuart Binny (36), and the duo added 46 runs for the fourth wicket. In all irony, Watson fell to Bravo, after bringing up his century.
Unfortunately, he couldn’t finish what he started.