Raina stars in fluent Chennai win
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Scorecard:Rajasthan Royals v Chennai Super Kings
Player:RA Jadeja, L Balaji, SK Raina, S Badrinath
Event:Indian Premier League 2009

DateLine: 30th April 2009


Suresh Raina played a sensational knock, claimed a wicket and picked up two catches as Chennai Super Kings recovered from a dodgy start to dismiss Rajasthan Royals to notch up a vital win and get back into the race, winning by 38 runs.


Royals were always up against it, especially since the top order, especially Graeme Smith, has not been able to come to terms with the job at hand, for most matches. This innings was also nothing to write home about as he slashed a guaranteed wide into Badrinath’s hands off Albie Morkel.


Shane Warne had decided to hold back Swapnil Asnodkar, but that didn’t work either, since the little batsman, after carting one over the fence, managed to destroy his stumps with the bat, and get caught, off the same delivery.


In truth, Rajasthan seem seriously short of ideas when it comes to batting. They have frequently changed their batting order and this hasn’t helped them in any way.


Rob Quiney looked good in fits and starts but not one of the batsmen looked anything like getting thing going. It seemed that they have basically decided to leave it all to Yusuf Pathan. But Pathan can be expected to go ballistic for short bursts. He is not expected to carve out innings with patience.


In fact, apart from Quiney, only Ravindra Jadeja looked like getting his act together. He showed his class and skill, but it takes more than one batsman to get things going, and his effort ended up being too little too late. Lakshmipathy Balaji once again emphasized his utility in the side, claiming four wickets as the Royals folded without much imagination of flair.


Raina was somehow looking to become an eternal bridesmaid of Indian cricket, always showing promise but not delivering. But he grabbed the opportunity with both hands on Thursday evening, missing out on a hundred due to some over-enthusiastic scoring and little else.


But his 98 off 55 balls, with then boundaries and five sixes, was practically the only good thing that came out of the4 Chennai batting, apart from a quick 22 not out by Mahendra Singh Dhoni. S Badrinath was looking good till he fell to Warne’s guiles, and Jacob Oram’s batting continues to disappoint.


Warne seemed to hit on an unlikely winning mantra beginning the second over with Yusuf Pathan. Matthew Hayden evidently had decided to attack the moment he saw Pathan, and he went charging down the track of the very first ball and missed the line altogether.


Parthiv Patel played a ludicrous shot to give Pathan his second wicket and it seemed like Chennai were a bit stymied by the choice of bowler. But Raina and Badrinath then got down the to the repair job, but Raina did it in his usual style, swinging at anything outside the off stump, and making most of the short square fence on one side of the ground.


Badri went after a 67-run third wicket stand and Oram soon thereafter even as Dhoni held himself back in the line-up, which ended up being a smart thing to do.


Dhoni hasn’t been quite in his elements with the bat, possibly suffering from the same pressures that have dented Brendon McCullum’s IPL. He therefore decided to come in later and do the holding job, and it was a good plan, given that Raina was in full bloom at the other end.


The duo played with great poise, running the ones and twos and keeping the board ticking over, even as Raina did most of the long hitting. Dhoni kept him company well, and largely refrained from trying anything extravagant.


He didn’t need to, since Raina was doing enough for both of them.