CHENNAI: Shane Watson scored the first century of the Indian Premier League this year when he helped Rajasthan Royals to 185 for four against the Chennai Super Kings at the MA Chidambaram Stadium Chepauk, Chennai.
However, Watson could not prevent the Chennai Super Kings winning by five wickets in the end. Watson was asked to bowl the last over, with 11 runs required. Darren Bravo hit a six to bring Chennai closer to victory and then took two runs to carve out a thrilling win.
Watson hammered 101 off 61 balls while Stuart Binny chipped in with 36 off 22. Rajasthan Royals aren’t the best of teams on the road, racking up most of their points at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium in Jaipur.
Chennai has generally had pitches which offered some support to the bowlers, but Monday’s track was expected to be a more batsmen-friendly one.
That added to the difficulty for Royals since they are better equipped to deal with low-scoring matches than run-fests.
Rahul Dravid chose to bat on this flatter track, which also works in Chennai Super Kings’ favour, since they are a side that like to chase. Royals made two changes: Kevon Cooper comes back in place of Shaun Tait, and Jharkhand fast bowler Rahul Shukla takes Sreesanth’s spot.
Super Kings made one change: with allrounder Albie Morkel injured, West Indies fast bowler Jason Holder getting to make his IPL debut.
Meanwhile hosts Royal Challengers Bangalore would be looking to consolidate their position at the top of the league table and also maintain their unbeaten run at home when they face a struggling Pune Warriors India on Tuesday.
Royal Challengers, led by the aggressive Virat Kohli, have looked unbeatable at the Chinnaswamy stadium, a couple of close games notwithstanding. In fact, their only two defeats so far in seven outings have been in away matches, at Hyderabad and Chennai.
With 10 points from seven outings, Royal Challengers have an excellent opportunity to pick up two more that should establish them as among the favourites to qualify for the next stage of the competition.