The Sanju Samson-led team outclassed defending champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) by 5 wickets to finish second in the points table, dethroning Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) with a superior net run rate
Rajasthan Royals (RR) on Friday became the third team to make the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 playoffs. In their final match of the league stage, the Sanju Samson-led team beat defending champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) by 5 wickets to finish second on the points table, dethroning Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) with a superior net run rate. The Royals will now take on the big-spending Gujarat Titans in the first Qualifier at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on May 24.
Chasing a target of 151 runs, RR suffered an early blow in the form of Jos Buttler right in the first over. Fast bowler Simarjeet Singh undid the season’s highest run winner with a full outswinger. Buttler flicked the ball straight to Moeen Ali at first slip, departing for just 2 off 5 deliveries.
Opener Yashasvi Jaiswal then joined Sanju Samson and the duo stitched a 51-run stand for the second wicket. While the former did most of the hitting, the RR skipper stood tall at the other end and allowed the youngster to express himself.
The partnership could have gone further, but Mitchell Santner struck in the ninth and edged Samson to a return catch. Sanju was caught and bowled for 15 as RR was reduced to 67/2.
Jaiswal took over the responsibility of the chase after his skipper’s dismissal and scored a brilliant half-century off 39 balls. It was his second fifty this season and it came on a very good occasion and against the defending champions. He ended up scoring 59 in 44 deliveries, including 8 boundaries and a six, before falling prey to Prashant Solanki. The young leg-spinner also bowled Shimron Hetmyer (6) to return with figures of 2/20 in 2 overs.
Meanwhile, Rajasthan lost one of their trusted batsmen in Devdutt Padikkal for 3 off 9 deliveries. His dismissal gave way to the game-changer of the game – Ravichandran Ashwin, who returned unbeaten on 40 off 23, securing a comprehensive victory for the Royals.
Earlier, Moeen Ali shone on the powerplay but slowed down considerably thereafter as Chennai Super Kings struggled to 150 for 6. He ended up scoring 93 off 57 balls with 13 fours and three sixes.
However, after being on the receiving end of Moeen’s brutal attack during which the England all-rounder made a bowler of the caliber of Trent Boult look like a no-ball fielder by hitting him for 26 runs in an over, the RR bowling unit made a good comeback.
Dhoni smoked Prasidh Krishna for six more deep midwicket at the start of the next over, but the seamer came back strongly in the remaining five balls.
To start with, CSK were 3 for one after two overs, but Devon Conway and Moeen got loose after that, scoring 12 and 18 runs in the next two overs and getting the yellow brigade’s innings going.
Moeen was putting on the important shots with supreme ease, even when Conway was watching from the other end. He reached his half-century with a hook over the third man boundary off Boult.
Before that, Prasidh conceded 18 runs in an over that forced Sanju Samson to introduce the experienced Ravichandran Ashwin (1/28) into the attack, but he too conceded 16 runs off Moeen.