Rajasthan Royals continued their resurgence in IPL III as they registered their fourth consecutive win by beating the Chennai Super Kings by 17 runs on Sunday. The Super Kings, on the other hand, lost their fourth straight game as they could manage only 160-6 in their chase of 178 runs.
Naman Ojha's heroic knock powered the Royals to 177-8. The opener belted 80 off just 49 balls while Michael Lumb (30) and Adam Voges (20) smashed cameos to set the Super Kings a steep target.
Super Kings were in the hunt till the end in their chase after Murali Vijay's 42-run cameo put them on the track and then MS Dhoni (21) powered the chase though the asking run-rate kept rising. However, two run outs dented the Super Kings chase in crunch situations.
First, Yusuf Pathan's direct hit ended Vijay's blazing knock and later, Dhoni collided with S Badrinath for the second time this tournament as the Chennai skipper lost his bat and was comfortably short of his crease while attempting the second run.
It seemed all over for Chennai after Dhoni's dismissal. But Albie Morkel smashed three consecutive sixes off Shane Warne in the 18th over to bring the equation down to 27 off 12 balls. But Shaun Tait did not allow any miracles to happen for Chennai by getting rid of Badrinath (25) and Morkel (28).
Earlier, Lumb and Ojha got Royals off to a super start by bludgeoning 47 in just four overs before the England batsman perished to Albie Morkel.
Ojha however did not allow the momentum to shift by keeping up the run-rate. Rajasthan reached their fastest 100 in IPL III.
Though Shakab Jakati and Muttiah Muralitharan pulled back things in the middle overs, especially with the wicket of the dangerous Yusuf Pathan, Rajasthan looked poised for a massive score.
But after Ojha fell in the 18th over, Chennai struck regularly as Rajasthan failed to up the ante at the death. The Royals lost five wickets in the last four overs including three in the last over.