Saturday, April 3, 2010

Vijay heroics outshine brave Royals

Opener Murali Vijay played a dream innings of 127 off 56 balls (11 x 6, 8 x 4) as he spearheaded Chennai Super Kings to a stunning 23-run victory against Rajasthan Royals at Chepauk.

Batting first on winning the toss, the Super Kings put up 246 for five in 20 overs and the Royals replied with 223 for five. It was the fourth win in nine matches for the Super Kings while Royals slid to their fifth defeat, also from nine outings.

Incidentally, the Super Kings bettered their own IPL record total of 240 for five they had posted in 2008 against the Kings XI Punjab at Mohali.

While the Super Kings total was based on a 152-run partnership between Man of the Match Vijay and Albie Morkel (62), the Royals came up with a superb counter-attack, thanks in the main to opener Naman Ojha who remained unbeaten on 94 and Shane Watson (60).

The other hero for the Super Kings was left-arm fast bowler Doug Bollinger who had stepped off the aircraft less than 48 hours earlier after flying in from New Zealand. He conceded just 15 runs in his four overs while taking two wickets, including that of Watson, besides taking a spectacular catch to dismiss Yusuf Pathan.

The Royals put up a brave fight as Michael Lumb and Ojha provided a solid start, but the pressure never eased on the batsmen. The duo batted aggressively while knitting a partnership of 69 by the eighth over when Albie Morkel struck twice, removing Lumb and the dangerous Yusuf Pathan who lasted just two deliveries.

Pathan fell to an unbelievable catch by Bollinger in the deep as the Aussie fast bowler caught the ball, almost lost the balance on the edge of the boundary rope. He swatted the ball back in, stepped out of the boundary but quickly jumped in to complete the catch.

Thereafter, Watson and Ojha showcased their big-hitting ability and all the Super Kings bowlers, barring Bollinger came in for some heavy punishment.

Earlier, the Super Kings blasted off the blocks as Vijay and Matthew Hayden putting on 69 runs for the first wicket by the sixth over. Hayden departed just as he was taining in confidence and stature after smashing seamer Shrikant Wagh for three consecutive boundaries before offering a tame catch to Watson at mid-off.

Vijay played one of the finest IPL innings that was marked by authentic strokes, albeit a bias for the leg-side. Nevertheless, he got into the zone early and was unstoppable.

Timing, power and audacity underlined Vijay's knock that includes some huge blows, including a six that went sailing over the roof and an unforgettable swipe off fast bowler Shaun Tait over square third-man for another maximum.

At the other end, Morkel batted superbly after taking time to settle down. But once he got going, he matched Vijay shot for shot as the pair stepped up the pace in the second-half that saw the Super Kings score 149 runs between overs 12 and 20.

Chennai Super Kings 246 for 5 (Vijay 127, Morkel 62) beat Rajasthan Royals 223 for 5 (Ojha 94*, Watson 60, Bollinger 2-15) by 23 runs

Player of the match M Vijay (Chennai Super Kings) 

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