Sanju Samson playing a shot | Photo: Twitter@IPL
Sharjah: Sanju Samson's blistering 32-ball 74 at No.3, fast bowler Jofra Archer's fireworks with the bat -- he carted four consecutive sixes in the last over -- and leggie Rahul Tewatia's three-wicket burst propelled Rajasthan Royals (RR) to a comfortable 16-run win over Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in an IPL match here on Tuesday.
RR, champions in the first IPL edition in 2008, posted a gigantic 216 for seven wickets in 20 overs after being asked to bat by CSK captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni who won the toss. Chasing, three-time champions CSK finished with 200 for six wickets in 20 overs, despite a late surge from Faf du Plessis, who hammered a 37-ball 72 at the Sharjah International Stadium.
After some blistering batting display by Samson and captain Steve Smith took their side to a big total, the Rajasthan Royals bowlers also stepped up and comfortably defended the target as their side started their campaign with a win.
Chasing the massive 217-run target, CSK were off to a flying start, with openers Shane Watson and Murli Vijay taking their team past the 50-run mark in 5.5 overs.
Rahul Tewatia drew the first blood for RR as he packed back Watson (33) in the seventh over with CSK's scorecard reading 56/1. Just before CSK could add couple of runs to their total, Shreyas Gopal sent back Vijay (21).
CSK then lost Sam Curran (17), Ruturaj Gaikwad, who departed without scoring, and Kedar Jadhav (22) at regular intervals. However, it was du Plessis who kept CSK's hopes alive.
With the required run-rate continuously mounting up, du Plessis showed his prowess after clobbering the Royals bowlers all round the park.
The South African, however, failed to convert it into a win as he was dismissed by Archer in the 19th over. du Plessis 37-ball 72 knock contained a boundary and seven sixes. After the South African's departure, the 'Yellow Brigade' needed 38 off the final over, Dhoni showed glimpses of his vintage batting as he smashed Tom Curran for three back to back sixes. However, Dhoni's pyrotechnics weren't enough to help his team across the line, falling short by 16 runs in the end. Dhoni's unbeaten 29 runs came off 17 deliveries.
Tewatia was the wrecker-in-chief for RR with figures of 3/37 while Tom Curran, Gopal and Archer bagged a wicket each.
Earlier, half-centuries from Sanju Samson (74) and Steve Smith (69) along with Jofra Archer's (27 not out) late fireworks propelled Rajasthan Royals to a huge 216/7 in 20 overs.
Asked to bat, RR lost their opener Yashasvi Jaiswal (6), who fell to Deepak Chahar in the third over with just 11 runs on board.
However, Samson, who then joined his skipper Smith, looked in no mood to spare any CSK bowler. There was no looking back for the pair as they kept the scorers busy denying their opponents making any further inroads. The duo steered their side to 40/1 in the first five overs before they swiftly accelerated the run rate to help RR reach 119/1 in 10 overs.
The Smith-Samson pair was involved in a crucial 121-run partnership for the second wicket. CSK pacer Lungi Ngidi finally came with a breakthrough as he cut short Samson's stay in the middle in the 12th over with RR's scorecard reading 132/2. Samson's master class was laced with a boundary and nine sixes.
RR then lost David Miller, who failed to open his account, Robin Uthappa (5) and Rahul Tewatia (10) in quick succession as RR were reduced to 167/5 in 16.2 overs.
Next batsman Riyan Parag (6) also failed to make an impact after being dismissed in the same over by Sam Curran. Despite these hiccups, Smith continued to keep the scorers busy.
While trying to switch gears, Smith lost his wicket in the 19th over before Archer began the carnage. The RR skipper's knock, which came off 47 balls, was decorated with four boundaries and as many hits over the rope.
Ngidi had a forgettable day as he became the main victim of Archer, who carted four consecutive maximums in the final over. Archer's eight ball 27 was enough to take RR to a massive total.
During Tom Curran's brief innings there was drama as umpire Chettithody Shamshuddin declared him out off pacer Deepak Chahar after Dhoni 'wrongly' claimed a catch in the 18 over of the innings. Replay, however, showed that the ball had bounced before Dhoni took the catch, and Curran, who had walked some distance, returned to resume his innings. He scored an unbeaten 10 off nine balls.
Tom's brother Sam Curran was the pick of CSK bowlers with figures of 3/33 while Chahar, Ngidi and Piyush Chawla settled with a wicket each.
Brief scores: RR 216/7 in 20 overs (Samson 74, Smith 69; S Curran 3/33) beat CSK 200/6 in 20 overs (Faf du Plessis 72, Shane Watson 33; Rahul Tewatia 3/37) by 16 runs