Shane Watson's stunning hundred saw the Chennai Super Kings to a comfortable 64-run win over the Rajasthan Royals on Friday in the Indian Premier League. While Watson didn't find it too hard to bag a deal in the auctions ahead of season 11 as Chennai Super Kings came calling for his all-round cricketing ability, Gayle only had Kings XI Punjab to thank for their unchallenged bid towards the end of the bidding war.
The Australian veteran rolled back the years to hammer 106 from 57 balls, inspiring the Super Kings to a score of 204 for five.
If CSK could not post a more daunting total on board, it was because of Royals' leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal, who stopped the run flow if not choked the CSK line-up, by accounting for three batsmen, including MS Dhoni in quick succession. Chennai have a spin- heavy attack, keeping in mind the Chepauk stadium, and Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir and Ravindra Jadeja (who has hardly bowled in the tournament) can have a critical role in the game, though the home matches will be played at Pune. "The kind of players we've got, they'll always make that up", Dhoni said.
Now with the Chennai Super Kings, the Australian all-rounder was given a mighty helping hand from his former employers at the start of his innings. D' Arcy Short has looked scratchy even when he has managed to survive the initial hard phase and somebody like a Samson or Jos Buttler can open the innings with captain Ajinkya Rahane.
Gopal captured the wickets of Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni and Sam Billings while conceding only 20 runs in his four overs.
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In reply, Rajasthan Royals never seemed in control of the run chase, especially after losing top 3 in their powerplay overs. He took out captain Ajinkya Rahane (16) and Sanju Samson (2). Apart from them, no other bowler took wickets and also bowled with very high economy rates.
Bowling his four overs on the trot, the 25-year-old pacer finished with figures of 2-30 and by the time he was done, the Royals had been left with a big mountain to climb.
Rajasthan has two wins from five matches.
"Watson was positive from ball one, and T20 cricket is just about that", Rahane said. However, Shardul Thakur removed the South African, who was bowled in the fifth delivery of the second over, with the visiting side's score at 20. "They bowled straighter, and those lines and lengths were hard to hit".