IPL: Royals fall flat after Watson century

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Chennai Super Kings 204 for 5 (Watson 106, Raina 46) beat Rajasthan Royals 140 (Stokes 45, Karn 2-13, Bravo 2-16, Thakur 2-18, Chahar 2-30) by 64 runs

Shane Watson struck his fourth T20 hundred BCCI

For the 1000-odd Chennai Super Kings fans who endured the 26-hour train journey to Pune, this was a night to remember. For Rahul Tripathi, a Pune boy who plays his domestic cricket for Maharashtra at the MCA Stadium, this was a night to forget. He put down a regulation catch at slip to reprieve Shane Watson in the first over of the match and watched him smack the season’s second century, off 51 balls, against his former side, with whom he masterminded a fairytale a decade ago.

Watson and Suresh Raina, who replaced M Vijay, joined forces in the fifth over. When they were separated courtesy an outstanding catch by K Gowtham at deep midwicket, they had put on 81 off just 44 deliveries, with CSK in line to score 240. Some fine end-overs bowling by legspinner Shreyas Gopal and Ben Laughlin restricted them to 204, but that was hardly any consolation for Rajasthan Royals, who never got going in the chase and were bowled out for 140 in 18.3 overs.

They said he was a spent force. His previous season with Royal Challengers Bangalore was a disaster by any stretch of imagination, just like it was for Thursday’s centurion Chris Gayle. While Gayle came into the tournament in patchy form, Watson was the fifth-highest run-getter (319 runs in 10 matches at a strike rate of 135.16) in the PSL season that finished late last month.

Watson announced himself inside the first six overs. This made the generally effervescent Raina look subdued in comparison. But that was only until he launched Ben Stokes for four successive fours in the sixth over to move CSK to 69 for 1, their highest Powerplay score this season. That was the start of a giant yellow party that continued until the end of the match. (Excerpt from ESPNcricinfo)

 

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