Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni leaves the ground after his dismissal against Rajasthan Royals during the IPL-5 match in Jaipur. PTI/Aman Sharma
For a moment, it seemed surreal — 'Mr Perfect' Rahul Dravid getting caught off an ugly cross-batted shot and his young apprentice, Ajinkya Rahane, impressive so far with his correct strokeplay, trying to hit the ball senselessly. Creating such indiscretions in the opposition ranks has made MS Dhoni the man with a Midas touch, which was on display on Thursday as CSK recorded a four-wicket win.
That magic may be waning these days but the Chennai skipper was cool enough to retain nerve and nous. He put the Rajasthan Royals in to bat. Importantly, he made it a point to mention confidently and explicitly that they'd fancy a chase with the threat of rain looming large. His comments may have played on RR openers' mind, as they seemed desperate to post a large total out of CSK's reach. But they kept losing wickets through senseless strokes and ended at 127/6. The start-stop nature of the match, with the rain interfering on three occasions, added to the falling wickets, kept the big home crowd mostly silent.
Rajasthan Royals never looked set. And a lot of the credit had to be given to CSK's lead pacer Ben Hilfenhaus. Following the mauling at the hands of Mumbai Indians' Dwayne Smith, the Aussie was immaculate. His famed outswinger was in full play with the slight breeze helping him get the wickets of Dravid and Shane Watson.