IPL 2023: Dhoni, Jadeja heroics in vain as Rajasthan Royals beat Chennai Super Kings in a last-ball thriller

Chennai, April 12 (IANS) A valiant blazing 32 not out off 17 balls by skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni went in vain as Chennai Super Kings lost to Rajasthan Royals by three runs in a last-ball edge-of-the-seat thriller in the India Premier League (IPL) 2023 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium here on Wednesday.
Chasing a target of 176 on a slow turner and with dew coming down in copious amounts was expected to be easy for Chennai Super Kings in what was the 200th match for Dhoni as captain. The CSK skipper made a brave effort by hitting two sixes in the final over but in the end, fell short narrowly.
But after recovering from the setback of losing Rituraj Gaikwad, their top scorer so far, for eight runs, but recovering to 78/1 thanks to Devon Conway and AjinkyaRahane, CSK reached a stage with 40 needed off the last 12 deliveries, Dhoni and RavindraJadeja pulled them to 21 off six and then seven off three deliveries. It boiled down to five runs off the final delivery faced by Dhoni when Sandeep Sharma, who had started the final over with two wides, bowled a good yorker to deny Dhoni the glory on his milestone day.
After deciding to bowl first and restricting Rajasthan Royals to what initially looked like a below-par 175/8 in 20 overs, Chennai could manage 172/6 in 20 overs and lost by a narrow margin.
Earlier, brilliant bowling by Rajasthan Royals spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (2-25) and YuzvendraChahal (2-27) off their respective four overs had hampered Chennai Super Kings’ chase as they had recovered from losing an early wicket to reach 78/1 in the 10th over.
Opener Devon Conway, who had struck Adam Zampa to two boundaries in the fifth over, and seasoned AjinkyaRahane (31) had repaired the innings but things went downhill for CSK on their home ground after Ashwin had trapped Rahane in front to give Rajasthan Royals the much-needed breakthrough.
Ashwin also got ShivamDube (8 off 9) while Adam Zampa accounted for the dangerous Moeen Ali (7 off 10) and Chahal sent back Ambati Rayudu (1) as Chennai Super Kings slumped to 103/5. Chahal then claimed the prized wicket of Devon Conway (50), and Chennai Super Kings looked down and out.
However, skipper MS Dhoni and RavindraJadeja struck some big blows as they pulled CSK to 40 runs needed off the last two overs. Dhoni and Jadeja hammered Jason Holder for two sixes and a four as they raised 19 runs from the 19th over.
With CSK needing 21 runs off the last over, Sandeep Sharma started with a couple of wides and then Dhoni smacked sixes off the next two deliveries off two low full-tosses and Chennai needed seven from three deliveries.
He managed one run off the fourth delivery of the over and Jadeja could take a single off the fifth delivery, leaving it for Dhoni to get five runs off the last delivery to seal the victory. Sandeep Sharma bowled a superb yorker and Dhoni could manage only one run as Rajasthan Royals claimed a thrilling win.
Brief scores:
Rajasthan Royals 175/8 in 20 overs (Jos Buttler 52, DevduttPadikkal 38, R Ashwin 30, ShimronHetmyer 30 not out; RavindraJadeja 2-21, Tushar Deshpande 2-37, Akash Singh 2-40) beat Chennai Super Kings 172/6 in 20 overs (Devon Conway 50, AjinkyaRahane 31, M.S Dhoni 32 not out, RavindraJadeja 25 not out; Ashwin 2-25, YuzvendraChahal 2-27) by 3 runs.

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