With 2 points each in their kitty, Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals were all set for the battle. With Sanju Samson as the captain, the Rajasthan Royals look more balanced as a squad while Dhoni's CSK has more power hitters in their line-up. However, both the teams have the 'never give up' attitude which makes their campaign interesting every year. RR was definitely missing Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes but they have the talents to make up for it. CSK, on the other hand, found their form with the ball in the last game and it served as a booster for them.
The significant battle between the Super Kings and Royals was hosted by Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai and Sanju Samson won the toss and decided to field first. CSK came to the crease only to witness the falling of wickets at regular intervals. Ruturaj failed again while Faf du Plessis and Moeen Ali gave a good contribution scoring 33 and 26 each. Rayudu played short and sensible innings for 27 off 17 balls with three sixes while Dhoni got out for 18 off 17 balls at the time when the CSK fans desperately needed the captain's knock.
The surprise element of the innings was the potential comeback of Dwayne Bravo as a batsman. He scored 20 runs from 8 balls and it is indeed a comeback because he looked super comfortable at the crease after a long time. Though no batsmen scored a half-century, the men in yellow managed to put nearly 200 runs on the board. CSK scored 188 runs for the loss of 9 wickets in their 20 overs. A very competitive total but you never know with a strong batting unit like the Rajasthan Royals.
With being tasked up to chase a big target, Rajasthan came to the crease and it had seen a flawed opening as their leading batsmen went back to the pavilion one by one. Jos Buttler wasn't worried as he took on the CSK bowlers with complete aggression. He was the only one who looked rock-solid to take Rajasthan home. Apart from Buttler, other batsmen including Vohra, Samson, Shivam Dube, and David Miller fell short to a low score letting the CSK control the game.
Buttler was threatening the CSK as a one-man show until Jadeja took the ball to bowl. Jadeja bowled that priceless delivery to bowl Buttler out for 49, it was all CSK's game. Moeen Ali picked up 3 wickets for just 7 runs in 3 overs and it was a match-winning spell. Jadeja was excellent on the field as he picked up 4 catches and 2 wickets proving that he is undoubtedly the most valuable gem for the CSK.
With magnificent bowling and fielding, the Super Kings had completely dominated the Royals as Rajasthan could score only 143 runs and it was a big win for the CSK by 45 runs, taking their net run rate to +1.194 which was a dream once, which has now come true. On the Chennai side, Moeen Ali took three wickets, Sam Curran and Ravindra Jadeja took two wickets each, and Shardul Thakur and Dwayne Bravo took one wicket each. The Chennai Super Kings had registered their second victory in three matches and ascended to the second spot on the IPL points table behind the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
It was indeed a good start for the CSK and for his splendid performances in bat and ball, Moeen Ali was named as the Player of the Match. Dhoni was a happy man and said that the team is keeping a good atmosphere right from the start. Speaking at the post-match presentation, Dhoni said, "I always look at what's the best at that point of time. I felt that Sam bowled really well and Deepak, I think he tried the knuckleball too much and felt that a good start was important. It was spinning a bit, I don't really mind Jos (Buttler) playing the reverse where it's turning a bit".
"It's important to have that sixth bowler, it always helps and it was stopping a bit for spinners. There was slightly less dew than usual. I felt we should have scored more and try to get as many as possible. A lot has changed over the years and right from the start, we kept a very good atmosphere and a lot of the bowlers have been under the pump last year but this time they are enjoying bowling on these wickets. When you are playing, you don't really want anyone to say he's unfit. Performances are something that's not guaranteed", Dhoni added.
He further appealed to the people not to call him unfit. He said, "I wasn't guaranteeing performances when I was 24, I can't guarantee when I am 40, but at least if people can't point finger at me that he's unfit then that will be a big positive for me. I have to keep up with the younger guys, they are very fast, it's good to challenge them." After conceding a defeat, RR's Sanju Samson said, "I thought it was a good score to chase down but we lost too many wickets in the middle overs. Our bowlers bowled really well, they batted too deep. 10-15 runs extra we gave down the line. We never expected that, the dew didn't come and the ball was still turning, so it was a bit shocking to see".
"It's very important to maintain a good composure, this format demands us to score at a higher risk rate, hence it's very normal to get out often. I keep working on the basics and giving myself some time at the center. He's (Chetan Sakariya) been doing really well, we lost the match but there are a lot of positives", Samson added.