Chennai Super Kings, the three-time IPL champions, opened their 2021 campaign with a defeat to Delhi Capitals but immediately bounced back against Punjab Kings on Friday night, thanks to a superb effort in the field – both by the bowlers as well as fielders, especially Ravindra Jadeja.
The age-old maxim “catches win matches” proved its efficacy yet again as Jadeja work within the first half an hour of the match sealed the fate of the entire evening. First, he pounced on only a slight bit of hesitation to run out Punjab captain KL Rahul via a direct hit. Minutes later, he took a stunning, diving catch of Chris Gayle, which led Michael Vaughan to later dub him “India’s greatest ever fielder”.
The dominant nature of their victory means their tails will be up heading into the clash with the Royals.
A cause of concern for them will be the form of their opener Ruturaj Gaijwad, who has had two straight failures and will be under pressure to deliver this time.
Rajasthan Royals are also coming off a victory after losing the opening match, albeit a slim margin. Enough has been said about Sanju Samson’s heroics in the opening match against Punjab Kings so we’ll leave it at that. In the last game, RR seamer Jaydev Unadkat was the main man. His three-for dismantled the Delhi Capitals’ top order and restricted them to 147-8.
The chase was not without its hiccups and scares as Rajasthan were 42-5 at one point and would have lost, had it not been for David Miller’s gutsy 62 and, more importantly, Chris Morris’ 18-ball 36, which included two last-over sixes.
Truth be told, Rajasthan batting has so far relied on individual feats and heroics. It has yet to click as a unit. Granted that it’s a long tournament that has only just begun, but the big-name sleepers should come alive just about now.