CHENNAI: Rajasthan Royals’ Shane Watson came up with the first century of the T20 league this season. However, his effort was not good enough for preventing Chennai Super Kings from notching up a thrilling five-wicket win on Monday night. CSK are now on top of the points tally. Watson’s ton guided Royals to a very formidable total of 185 for four in their 20 overs. But Watson’s Aussie mate, Michael Hussey made sure that the hosts were always in the game with a magnificent 88 (51 balls, 13×4, 1×6).
There was a bit of a drama towards the end as CSK needed 11 off the final over bowled by Watson himself. But Dwayne Bravo it the third ball of the over for a massive six which sealed the fate of the Royals.
Hussey, the tireless veteran, was at his industrious best, hitting fours and finding the gaps in the field at will. His 90-run second-wicket partnership with Suresh Raina built the base for the final charge. But for Ajit Chandila and James Faulkner, Hussey did not spare any Rajasthan bowler.
Earlier, Watson (101, 61 balls, 6×4, 6×6) made sure Rahul Dravid didn’t have to regret his decision to bat first at Chepauk on a pitch the Royals skipper termed the best he had seen in recent times. The former Aussie vice-captain, along with Ajinkya Rahane, gave the Royals a solid start with a partnership of 71 runs in eight overs.
Watson had everything going his way. An ordinary CSK bowling, a couple of close shaves, and the evening was definitely his even though he lived dangerously. He completed his century with a nudge towards deep square-leg. After hitting six boundaries and six sixes, an easy catch to Hussey at extra cover brought the curtains down on a memorable innings.
Having raced to 50 in no time, Watson deposited a Chris Morris full length ball behind the sightscreen. Soon after, Bravo came close to sending the Aussie back when he tried for a diving catch at short fine leg, but the ball eluded him.
CSK got their first break after the first time out as Ashwin bowled Rahane (16) in his first over. Ashwin struck again for CSK, this time Yagnik top-edging a ball only to be pouched by the bowler.
With two wickets in quick succession, Ashwin looked like pulling it back for the Super Kings. Binny, who came in after Dravid got out, was dropped by Mohit Sharma when he was six at deep cover, and he made CSK pay for that with a 36.
Shane Watson scored the first ton of the 2013 edition. It was only the third ton by a Royals player after Yusuf Pathan (vs MI, 2010) and Ajinkya Rahane (vs RCB, 2012).
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