Watson defends Fortress Jaipur from CSK (Roundup)

Jaipur, May 12 (IANS) Shane Watson made sure that Fortress Jaipur was still not breached as he led the Rajasthan Royals to a five-wicket victory over table toppers Chennai Super Kings at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium here Sunday.

Chasing 142, the Royals were stuttering at 45/4 but the Australian all-rounder helped the home team reach home with a staggering knock of 70 runs off 34 balls. Sixty-six of Watson’s runs came in boundaries as the right handed bat smashed six sixes and fours, each, all over ground.

The Royals chased down Chennai’s total of 141/4 with 17 balls to spare. With this win, the Royals moved to second place in the points table behind the Super Kings, with both teams having 20 points from 14 matches.

The home team started badly with opener Ajinkya Rahane (9), James Faulkner (1) and Sanju Samson (0) getting out as the Royals were stumbling at 19/3. Skipper Rahul Dravid (22) tried to steady the ship but he too perished by the 10th over (45/4).

In came man in form Watson, who plundered the Super Kings’ bowlers, who had no answer for the Australian’s stroke play. From the jaws of defeat, Watson pulled the Royals out and took them to victory with the help of Stuart Binny, who hammered 41 off 23 balls which included three sixes and two boundaries.

Jason Holder was the pick of the bowlers clinching 2/20 from his quota of four.

Earlier, despite a brilliant 83-run opening wicket partnership between Michael Hussey (40) and Murali Vijay (55), the Chennai Super Kings failed to capitalise and only managed to put 58 more runs.

The visitors suffered a mini collapse after Hussey, Suresh Raina (1) and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (2) fell in a span of six runs (89/3). Ravindra Jadeja (12 not out) tried to hold the innings together but was too slow for the Twenty20 format.

Only Dwayne Bravo’s unb’aten knock of 23 in 11 balls helped the Super Kings go past the 140-mark and reach a respectable total. Bravo plundered four boundaries in the last few balls.

The Royals’ bowl’rs proved to be economical with three of six bowlers achieving an economy rate of under-six. Kevon Cooper clinched two wickets while Binny took 1/17 in his three overs.

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