In the final over, Jofra Archer (27 off 8 balls) hit four sixes off Lungi Ngidi as Royals got 30 runs to take the score past 215.
Rajasthan Royals, riding on brilliant knocks from Sanju Samson and skipper Steve Smith, began its IPL campaign with a 16-run win over Chennai Super Kings at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.
Chasing 217 for victory, Super Kings started well, scoring 53 in the PowerPlay overs. Shane Watson looked good during his knock of 33 before Rahul Tewatia castled him. Shreyas Gopal accounted for M. Vijay in the next over.
Tewatia had Sam Curran and debutant Ruturaj Gaikwad stumped off successive deliveries, reducing CSK to 78 for four in the ninth over.
Faf du Plessis, who made only 17 off his first 18 balls, switched gears to score 44 off the next 12 with six sixes and a four. His 72 (37b, 1×4, 7×6) and M.S. Dhoni’s three consecutive sixes in the final over off Tom Curran reduced the margin of defeat. The CSK skipper remained unbeaten on 29 off 17 deliveries.
CSK missed the services of Ambati Rayudu, the star of the opening match, who was not 100% fit. Ruturaj, who had recovered from COVID-19 just a few days back, earned a call-up.
Earlier, after being invited to bat, Samson and Smith, who promoted himself as opener, demolished the CSK bowlers at the start before Jofra Archer slammed four sixes in the final over to power Royals to 216 for 7.
Electing to bowl, Deepak Chahar struck early, removing debutant Yeshasvi Jaiswal, before Samson took centrestage.
The Kerala batsman got into his groove straightaway, stroking Sam Curran for a four and six and pulling Chahar for a six in the next over.
Samson turned his attention to Ravindra Jadeja, smashing the left-arm spinner for two sixes straight down the ground and launching into Piyush Chawla. The leg-spinner saw the ball disappear into the stands four times in his first over — Samson hit three sixes and Smith one — as he conceded 28 runs.
Samson, who raced to his half-century off just 19 deliveries, added 121 with Smith for the second wicket off just 9.2 overs. CSK pulled things back once pacer Lungi Ngidi sent back Samson for 74 with a slower one. In the same over, a smart piece of fielding from the deep by Ruturaj saw the dangerous David Miller getting run out without even facing a ball.
CSK kept chipping away at the Royals line-up as Curran came back strongly, picking up three crucial wickets, including that of Smith (69). Curran had dropped the Australian at long-off when the latter was on 52.
Just when CSK thought it could keep Royals to less than 200, Archer launched into Ngidi in the final over, smashing the South African pacer for four sixes.
The match witnessed 33 sixes (Royals 17, CSK 16), equalling the record for most maximums set in 2018 in the contest between RCB and CSK at Bengaluru.
RAJASTHAN ROYALS: Yashasvi Jaiswal c & b Chahar 6 (6b, 1×4), Steve Smith c Jadhav b Sam Curran 69 (47b, 4×4, 4×6), Sanju Samson c Chahar b Ngidi 74 (32b, 1×4, 9×6), David Miller run out 0 (0b), Robin Uthappa c du Plessis b Chawla 5 (9b), Rahul Tewatia lbw b Sam Curran 10 (8b, 1×4), Riyan Parag c Dhoni b Sam Curran 6 (4b, 1×4), Tom Curran (not out) 10 (9b, 1×4), Jofra Archer (not out) 27 (8b, 4×6); Extras (b-1, w-5, nb-3): 9; Total (for seven wkts. in 20 overs): 216.
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-11 (Jaiswal, 2.2 overs), 2-132 (Samson, 11.4), 3-134 (Miller, 11.6), 4-149 (Uthappa, 14.1), 5-167 (Tewatia, 16.2), 6-173 (Parag, 16.6), 7-178 (Smith, 18.2).
SUPER KINGS BOWLING: Chahar 4-0-31-1, Sam Curran 4-0-33-3, Ngidi 4-0-56-1, Jadeja 4-0-40-0, Chawla 4-0-55-1
CHENNAI SUPER KINGS: M. Vijay c Tom Curran b Shreyas 21 (21b, 3×4), Shane Watson b Tewatia 33 (21b,1×4, 4×6), Faf du Plessis c Samson b Archer 72 (37b,1×4, 7×6), Sam Curran st. Samson b Tewatia 17 (6b,1×4, 2×6), Ruturaj Gaikwad st. Samson b Tewatia 0 (1b), Kedar Jadhav c Samson b Tom Curran 22 (16b, 3×4), M.S. Dhoni (not out) 29 (17b, 3×6), Ravindra Jadeja (not out) 1 (2b); Extras (lb-1, w-3, nb-1): 5; Total (for six wkts. in 20 overs): 200.
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-56 (Watson, 6.4), 2-58 (Vijay, 7.3), 3-77 (Sam Curran, 8.5), 4-77 (Gaikwad, 8.6), 5-114 (Jadhav, 13.4), 6-179 (du Plessis,18.5).
ROYALS BOWLING: Unadkat 4-0-44-0, Archer 4-0-26-1, Shreyas 4-0-38-1, Tom Curran 4-0-54-1, Tewatia 4-0-37-3.