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IPL 2018: Shane Watson powers Chennai Super Kings to win vs Rajasthan Royals

Shane Watson smashed his third IPL century as Chennai Super Kings moved to their new ‘home’ in style by producing a comprehensive 64-run win over Rajasthan Royals in an IPL 2018 game in Pune on Friday.

cricket Updated: Apr 20, 2018 23:49 IST
Bihan Sengupta
Bihan Sengupta
Hindustan Times, Pune
IPL 2018,Shane Watson,Chennai Super Kings
Shane Watson of the Chennai Super Kings celebrates his century vs Rajasthan Royals at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Cricket Stadium, Pune on 20th April 2018. (IPL)

Chris Gayle had notched up the season’s first IPL hundred on Thursday. A day later, Shane Watson delivered another. Two great knocks, yet they can be differentiated on any given day. (HIGHLIGHTS)

For a first, bowling to Gayle yields unexpected returns. A good length ball is nonchalantly sent to the second tier, there’s the typical poker face that doesn’t give away if he’s content enough with the shot and thirdly, it’s brute power. (FULL SCORECARD)

The difference, perhaps, is that Watson’s knock exuded a more humane touch to it. Bad balls were sent to the cleaners; the good ones were respected and converted for singles or twos if possible. No unnecessary risks, no trying out variations; simple clean hitting. And, he smiles!

Watson (106) struck a 51-ball hundred on Friday against Rajasthan Royals as Chennai Super Kings put up a mammoth 204/5. In reply, Royals were bundled out at 140.

Contrasting starts

If the phrase ‘catches win matches’ had to be drilled into a youngster’s mind, there’s no better endorsement than the one Watson delivered. After two consecutive boundaries in the first over, he had edged one off Stuart Binny to first slip but Rahul Tripathi put down a sitter. By the time he provided another opportunity, his side had gone past 200.

An aggressive start with Suresh Raina, in at No 3 after Ambati Rayudu departed early, gave the hosts a perfect start with 68 off the first six overs before escalating the carnage as the innings progressed. Raina’s 29-ball 46 equally oozed class as he smashed the ball to all corners of the park. Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (5) failed to get going though.

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In stark contrast, Royals’s batting approach complimented their clueless bowling attack. They had introduced five bowlers in the opening five overs in a vain attempt to halt Raina and Watson in the first innings. In the second, five of their batsmen had to come out of the dugout in another hapless attempt to rescue their side.

Heinrich Klassen and Ajinkya Rahane were both clean bowled — the former dismissed with zero feet movement while the latter in an attempt to step down the crease. Sanju Samson, too, followed suit holing one to the only man on the leg side off a short-pitch delivery. At the end of powerplay, they were reeling at 35/3.

One-sided affair

Both teams were to meet after a gap of three years after serving their two-year suspensions from the IPL fold. However, Watson’s knock, coupled with the brisk knocks from Raina and Bravo simply turned the game on its head. The Caribbean was sent in ahead of Ravindra Jadeja and with 24 off 16 balls, he didn’t disappoint.

For the Royals, however, barring Shreyas Gopal’s 3/20, the rest simply seemed to contribute to the number of overs. Even in batting department, Ben Stokes (45 off 37 balls) proved to be a lone warrior as wickets fell in regular intervals.

No doubt Watson, Raina and CSK as a unit had put up a good show but if the Royals’s team management believe that such losses are part of a learning curve, they seriously need to look back and rejig their setup.

First Published: Apr 20, 2018 23:48 IST