Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) played out what was yet another last-ball thriller in the IPL 2023 season at Chepauk on Wednesday. Chasing 176 to win, CSK lost by just three runs and the visitors held their nerves to gain crucial two points.
A half-century from Jos Buttler and crucial cameos from others helped RR post 175/8 in their 20 overs. Although Devon Conway scored a fifty in reply, the hosts seemed to be going nowhere in the chase until MS Dhoni decided to turn the clock.
Even with 40 runs needed off the final two overs, Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja gave hope that a CSK win was still on the cards and even got the equation down to just seven off three balls. However, Sandeep Sharma delivered under pressure to ensure Chennai fell short by three runs.
On that note, let’s take a look at three moments from the game that caught the attention of fans:
#3 Ravindra Jadeja’s double-wicket over
Ravindra Jadeja has been in sensational form of late with the ball, having won the Player of the Match in their previous game against Mumbai Indians. On a pitch where no other CSK spinner was consistent enough, Jadeja extracted the most turn and bowled some unplayable deliveries.
RR, despite losing Yashasvi Jaiswal early on, got off to a rollicking start thanks to Devdutt Padikkal’s positive intent. While Jos Buttler continued to play his natural game from one end, Padikkal provided some much-needed impetus that the team expected from him.
At 88/1 in the ninth over, it seemed the Royals could cruise to a 200+ score. However, within the space of three deliveries, Jadeja turned the innings on its head. He dismissed Padikkal first and then bowled an absolute peach to clean up RR skipper Sanju Samson for a duck.
It could have been three wickets in the same over had Moeen Ali held onto Ravichandran Ashwin’s catch at first skip.
#2 MS Dhoni’s twin-sixes in the final over
The debate about whether MS Dhoni should bat higher for CSK gained momentum after the veteran played yet another incredible cameo batting at No.8. The match seemed to have gone from Chennai’s grasp when they needed 54 runs off 18 balls, but Dhoni and Jadeja kept on finding boundaries at regular intervals to keep them alive.
21 runs were needed off the last over, and after a couple of wides and a well-executed yorker, the equation seemed extremely difficult with 19 runs needed off five balls. However, MS Dhoni smashed the next two balls for sixes and suddenly the equation was down to just seven from three.
Although CSK didn’t win the game, those two sixes from Dhoni made fans believe that even at the ripe old age of 41, he is still one of the best finishers in the business.
#1 Sandeep Sharma’s three yorkers helping RR win
With seven runs needed from three balls and a well-set MS Dhoni on strike, RR seemed to have lost the plot. However, Sandeep Sharma showed how crucial experience is in such situations as he chose plan B and just kept things simple.
The pacer tried to nail his yorkers from around the wicket to Dhoni and used the wide yorker from over the wicket to Jadeja. CSK could only muster three singles from the final three deliveries as RR secured a thrilling win.
Fans hailed Sandeep for believing in his skills under pressure while bowling to arguably one of the best finishers the game has seen in Dhoni.
You can catch the full highlights of the match here.