The situation of Rajasthan Royals heading into Match 47 was similar to Mumbai Indians in Match 46. To be precise, Rajasthan were in a poorer situation than Mumbai with only eight points and negative net run rate. And just like Delhi Capitals, Chennai Super Kings were fighting for a spot in the top two.
After winnings the toss, Sanju Samson sent Chennai to bat and the most successful opening duo of Faf du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad were off to yet another good start. Just at the brink of a 50-run opening partnership, du Plessis departed and Suresh Raina followed him cheaply. Gaikwad and Moeen Ali resurrected the innings with a 57-run partnership for the third wicket. But, it was the late flourish of Ravindra Jadeja and Gaikwad that propelled Chennai to a 189/4. Gaikwad reached his maiden T20 century in the last ball of the innings.
Chasing 190, Chennai never expected the counter-attack from Rajasthan batsmen. The young Yashasvi Jaiswal came out all guns blazing, to register a 19-ball half century. Rajasthan batsmen had posted 81 runs in the first six overs. After the dismissal of Jaiswal, Shivam Dube took over the charge by smashing a 31-ball half-century. A target which seemed unassailable at the start of the innings, turned out to be cake-walk for Rajasthan. They not only won the match, but also boosted their net run rate with this win. There were plenty of records from the match and here are few of them:
Dhoni steps out for the 200th time as captain
One of the biggest names of the IPL, MS Dhoni stepped out for the 200th time as the skipper of a team. No other player has captained the team in more than 150 matches in the IPL. Dhoni has captained 186 matches for Chennai and 14 matches for the now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiants. Overall, Dhoni has a win percentage of 59.8 percent, which is the best among all captains who have led for 20 or more matches.
Du Plessis’ best season
Season by season, it has just been an improvement for du Plessis in the IPL. In 2019, the South African scored 396 runs for the Chennai franchise. In a season to forget for the men in yellow in 2020, du Plessis was one of the shining stars with 449 runs. In IPL 2021, he has extended his good runs by scoring 460 runs at an average of 46. This is now his best season in IPL, beating his feat in 2020.
Chennai’s best Indian opener
For ages, Murali Vijay had the title of being the best Indian opener for Chennai in the IPL. But, the tag is now slowly shifting towards Gaikwad. A dull start to his IPL career hasn’t hampered and three back-to-back fifties at the end of IPL 2020 was proof of it. In IPL 2021, alongside du Plessis, Gaikwad has been one of the reasons for success for Chennai. The opener has amassed 508 runs this season, making him the first Indian Chennai opener to score 500+ runs in a season of IPL. Previously, Vijay in the 2010 edition of the IPL, had scored 441 runs, which was the highest.
The youngest centurion for Chennai
There had been eight centuries from Chennai batsmen in the IPL prior to Gaikwad’s ton against Rajasthan. But, none of them had aged less than 25 years when they scored. Hence, Gaikwad’s century at the age of 24 years and 244 days made him the youngest centurion for the Chennai franchise in the IPL. Prior to Gaikwad, Vijay at the age of 26 years and two days was the youngest.
The maximum of maximums
Generally, everyone expects Kieron Pollard, Dhoni, Andre Russell, Glenn Maxwell or Hardik Pandya to top the list of longest six hitters. This season, that’s not the case. Gaikwad who has been at the top of almost every batting record of IPL 2021, tops the list with a 108 meter six. The six off the last ball of the first innings that brought up his century, was recorded as the biggest of this edition.
A feisty start
Chasing a target of 190, the first six overs play a crucial part and boy! Rajasthan were off to a hellacious one. With Evin Lewis at one end, we can expect a few lusty blows from him. But, the biggest advantage for Rajasthan in the first six overs was Jaiswal’s attacking instinct. In fact, he was much more aggressive than Lewis. With both openers firing on all cylinders, Rajasthan hoisted 81 runs in the first six overs, making this their best ever start in IPL.
The awakening of Jaiswal
The 19-year-old opener was no longer the youth he was when he stepped out against Chennai. Jaiswal had switched on his beastly intent or rather to say, “Super Saiyan” mode – a fictional character with superpowers – in his knock off 21-ball fifty. He reached his half-century in just 19-balls and registered the joint second fastest half-century for Rajasthan and the second fastest for an uncapped player in IPL.
A century in vain
After making all the hard-work with the bat and registering n-number of records, Gaikwad has one unwanted record that is etched to his name. Out of the previous eight centuries by Chennai batsmen, none of them had registered one in a losing cause. By virtue of a stupendous batting performance from Rajasthan, Gaikwad’s unbeaten 101 became the first century to go in vain for Chennai in the IPL.