Blistering half-centuries from Yashaswi Jaiswal and Shivam Dube made a mockery of IPL 2021’s highest run chase so far, with Rajasthan Royals cruising to a seven-wicket win over Chennai Super Kings, in Abu Dhabi.
Chasing 190 to win on a slow wicket, Jaiswal (50 off 21 balls) got RR to a rollicking start in the company of Evin Lewis (27 off 12). The duo put on 77 runs in just over five overs. After they fell in the space of four runs, Dube (64* off 42) took over the mantle, blasting four fours and as many sixes to end all hopes of any comeback for the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led side.
Skipper Sanju Samson, too, chipped in with 28 runs. Glenn Phillips remained unbeaten on 14.
When CSK ended their innings at 189 for 4 with Ruturaj Gaikwad's superb 60-ball-101 not out, little did anyone think that Royals' Indian players would reply in kind and go even one better.
Hazlewood (0/54) wouldn't have imagined that he would be hit for three sixes in his first spell as the match slipped out of CSK's grasp in the Powerplay itself.
Jaiswal, whose game has improved from last season by a few notches, was seen flicking Hazlewood over deep mid-wicket and also hit a straight six during that knock.
Dube, who doesn't have much of a footwork, hit some monstrous sixes off Jadeja, Moeen Ali and Sam Curran whenever the ball was pitched in his arc.
Such was Dube's domination that even the stylish Samson paled in comparison during their 89-run stand for the third wicket in 9.3 overs.
But when the match started, it seemed as if Gaikwad owned the stage as he hit a six off Mustafizur Rahman's last ball to complete a coveted maiden IPL ton.
Gaikwad struck as many as nine fours and five sixes to blow away Royals' bowling attack in their 12th round encounter.
Ravindra Jadeja (32 not out off 15 balls) scythed through the Royals attack at the back-end as CSK added 55 runs in only 3.4 overs.
In fact, in the final over, Jadeja faced four deliveries, leaving Gaikwad with two deliveries and he pulled Mustafizur Rahman off the final delivery to complete the coveted landmark.
For the Royals, leg-spinner Rahul Tewatia (3/39 in 4 overs) was the most successful bowler.
Gaikwad's sequence of scores since resumption of IPL is 88, 38, 30, 45 and now 101 not out.
There hasn't been a single failure so far and his partnerships with Faf du Plessis (25) has been the cornerstone of CSK's good batting performance.
That none of their retired stars like Suresh Raina, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Ambati Rayudu haven't had much contribution with the bat, isn't affecting them primarily because of du Plessis and Gaikwad's power-packed starts.
On Saturday, they added 47 for the first wicket while they had conjured up 71 against RCB, 74 against KKR and 75 against SunRisers Hyderabad.
Royals now have 10 points with two matches to go. The fourth place is set to be clinched at 14 points and net run-rate is going to be crucial.
The defeat won't hurt CSK much as they sit pretty on 18 points, having already made it to last-four stage.
(With PTI inputs)