Royals rule in Ahmedabad

Naman Ohja scored 80 from 49 balls to push Rajasthan to 177-8 and secure a 17 run victory from Chennai.

The early loss of opener Michael Lumb for 30 did little to stem the haemorrhaging run-rate, as the home side, propelled by Ojha, maintained their frenetic opening surge, reaching 96-1 in 10 overs.

The Chennai Super Kings’ bowling attack lacked an out-and-out quick and, on a deck that held little in the way of swing or seam movement, the deficiency was apparent. Only when the visitors turned to their spinners did they make a breakthrough. Shadab Jakarti removed Faiz Fazal, then Yusuf Pathan cheaply, but Ojha ploughed on until he was tucked up by Thushara in the 18th.

Ojha’s departure saw some mediocre cricket from the home side. In their quest to finish with a flourish, Rajasthan repeatedly threw wickets away, losing four in the final two overs.

Chennai’s innnings lacked the anchor Ojha provided for the home side, and floundered after an initial flurry.

After the loss of Matthew Hayden at the hands of Pathan, Murali Vijay and Suresh Raina propelled Chennai forward, mirroring Rajasthan’s 73-1 after 8 overs in a belligerent display of batting which included a 24-run thrashing of Sumit Narwal’s second over. Just as ‘The Fortress’ appeared under threat, Pathan ended the promising partnership – a direct hit removing a wandering Vijay for 42.

Shane Warne then removed Raina’s off-stump with a flighted delivery that had the left-hander sweeping early. From then on the run-rate dipped, Warne leading Rajasthan’s suffocation of the batsmen for an extended period until a hat-trick of sixes from South Africa’s Albie Morkel threatened to resurrect the Chennai cause.

However, the visitors ultimately capitulated to 160-6, the escalating run-rate too much for the Chennai middle-order, who got starts and threw away the chance to dethrone the Royals. Shaun Tait was instrumental in Rajasthan’s bowling effort, providing reprieve from the early Chennai charge and wrapping up the innings at the death.

This win marks a rampant return to table-topping form for Rajasthan, now with four wins on the trot, and brings their home record to 10 wins from 11 matches in the IPL. Conversely, Chennai are securing their position at the bottom of the IPL table, with four back-to-back losses.

Rajasthan 177-8 (20 overs)
Naman Ojha 80, Michael Lumb 30, Thilan Thushara 2-28
Chennai 160-6 (20 overs)
Murali Vijay 42, Albie Morkel 28, Shaun Tait 2-22
Rajasthan won by 17 runs.

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