|Ajinkya Rahane, in Japiur, on Friday
Jaipur: Ajinkya Rahane hit a resolute 50 and spinner Pravin Tambe scalped three crucial wickets as Rajasthan Royals notched up a 14-run victory over Chennai Super Kings to advance to the final of the Champions League Twenty20, on Friday.
Royals posted a competitive 159 for eight, courtesy a 56-ball 70-run innings by opener Rahane, after they were sent into bat by CSK captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
The hosts then rode a sensational spell of spin bowling by Tambe (3/10) to restrict the Super Kings to 145 for eight and register their 13 victory in a row.
Lower-order batsman Ravichandran Ashwin blasted a quickfire 28-ball 46, studded with three fours and as many sixes, to give some hope to the Chennai side in the last stages of the match, but it was not enough in the end. Defending 159, the Royals were athletic on the field while CSK looked sloppy in their running between the wickets and it cost them their first two wickets.
A terrible mix-up between Michael Hussey (9) and Murali Vijay (14) ended with the former losing his wicket in the third over, while two overs later, Vijay too run himself out with Kevon Cooper hitting the stumps directly.
Suresh Raina clobbered the last two deliveries off Cooper for boundaries to ease the pressure as Chennai reached 41 for two in 6 overs.
Spinner Pravin Tambe and pacer Rahul Shukla then wrecked havoc on the CSK batsmen with the former scalping the wickets of Subramanium Badrinath (8) and Dwayne Bravo (3) and the latter removing Dhoni (3) cheaply.
Wickets kept falling like nine pins as Watson then induced an edged off Ravindra Jadeja which landed on the safe hands of wicketkeeper Dishant Yagnik.
Tambe then got rid of Raina, who was holed out by substitute Ashok Menaria at mid-off as Chennai was looking down the barrel at 72 for seven in 12.3 overs.
However, a 43-ball 73-run partnership between Ashwin and Chris Morris (26) for the eight wicket kept CSK in the hunt till the last over. Needing 23 runs in the last over, Ashwin blasted the first ball for a six, but bowler James Faulkner made a quick recovery to restrict them comfortably in the end.
Earlier, Rahane blasted six fours and two sixes in his half-century and shared a 59-run partnership in 39 balls with Shane Watson (32) for the fourth wicket to lay the foundation for Royals’ innings.
Meanwhile, Shane Watson was fined $750 for breaching the Code of Behaviour. Watson admitted to the Level 1 offence of using language that is obscene, offensive or insulting and/or making an obscene gesture.