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IPL Match 15: Rajasthan Royals thrash Chennai Super Kings as Rahane and Watson strike top form

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Fantastic half-centuries from openers Ajinkya Rahane (76* from 56 balls) and Shane Watson (73 from 47 balls) helped the Rajasthan Royals thump the Chennai Super Kings by 8 wickets in the battle of the two unbeaten sides in IPL Season 8.

The flip of the coin went the way of the Chennai Super Kings, who had absolutely no hesitation in opting to bat first on a very warm afternoon in Ahmedabad. The Super Kings came into this side unchanged, but the Royals did tinker around with their playing eleven with Shane Watson returning to captain the side and Tim Southee the foreign player forced to make way. The Royals also brought in rookie left arm spinner Ankit Sharma into the side for the excellent Dhawal Kulkarni, who was unfortunate to be dropped after taking 2-9 from his 3 overs in the last game.

Brendon McCullum threatened to get Chennai off to another quick start, but fell to Praveen Tambe in the third over, mistiming an attempted pull off a short delivery. He fell for 12.

Rajasthan then landed another double blow with Suresh Raina (4) and Faf du Plessis (1) falling in successive overs as the Chennai Super Kings slid to 39-3.

Dwayne Smith followed up with his half-century in the last game with another belligerent innings, smashing 40 off just 29 balls, but his departure in the 10th over left Chennai reeling at 65-4.

Chennai finally put together a much needing partnership with Dwayne Bravo leading the way with an unbeaten 62 off 36 balls. The former West Indies skipper batted through the innings and shared a 91 run stand with MS Dhoni, but the Indian skipper was nowhere near his best, finishing with 31 from 37 balls as Chennai ended at least 20-30 runs shy of a competitive score at 156-4.

Credit must be given to the Rajasthan bowlers, and their skipper Shane Watson in particular, who rotated his men right through the innings, a crucial ploy considering the searing heat.

Watson then came out to bat with Ajinkya Rahane and the duo decimated the Chennai bowling in their own contrasting styles. The duo shared an opening partnership of 144 for the opening wicket, and that took the game firmly away from Chennai, who simply had no answer to the strokeplay that they were confronted with.

Watson struck 4 sixes and 6 boundaries in his 73 run essay, while Rahane matched his senior partner on the boundary count and also had two sixes off his own to boast off. While neither man produced a chance-less innings, their risks paid off, and the Royals romped to their 5th successive win to start season 8 of the IPL.

Mini Scorecard:

Chennai Super Kings 156/4 (20 overs, 7.8rpo)

D Bravo 62* (36) C Morris 1-19 (4)

D Smith 40 (29) J Faulkner 1-26 (4)

Rajasthan Royals 157/2 (18.2 overs, rpo)

A Rahane 76* (56) R Jadeja 1-29 (4)

S Watson 73 (47) D Bravo 1-30 (2.2)

Rajasthan Royals win by 8 wickets