Raina powers Super Kings past Rajasthan Royals (Lead)

Centurion, May 1 (Inditop) A cracking 98 from Suresh Raina paved the way for Chennai Super Kings’ 38-run victory over defending champions Rajasthan Royals in their Indian Premier League (IPL) match at the Centurion Park here Thursday.

The breezy 55-ball knock from Man of the Match Raina guided Super Kings to a challenging 164 for five in 20 overs in what appeared to be the repeat of 2008 IPL final. But this time, Super Kings avenged their loss as they restricted Rajasthan Royals to 126 runs in 19.3 overs with some good performances from bowlers Lakhsmipathy Balaji (4-21), Albie Morkel (2-21) and Jacob Oram (2-27).

The win was Super Kings’ first in the IPL against Rajasthan Royals after having lost both their matches last year. The win was also Super Kings’ first after three matches.

Rajasthan Royals skipper Shane Warne’s decision to field initially proved spot on. The maverick Warne introduced spin in the second over with Yusuf Pathan (2-17), who removed openers Matthew Hayden (1) and Parthiv Patel (3) in quick successions to leave Super Kings in trouble.

Raina and Badrinath (29) then got Super Kings back on track with their 67-run stand for the third wicket. Raina was in no mood to waste time and he set the tone of his innings by hitting Dimitry Mascarenhas for a six and four.

At the other end, Badrinath relieved the pressure off Raina and the duo picked Pathan for some special treatment. While Badrinath rotated the strike, Raina kept up his powerplay and hit 10 fours and five sixes during his stay.

Warne’s “wild thing” Kamran Khan was not in his element as Raina hit the youngster for one six and his captain Mahendra Dhoni (22 not out) hit two more in the same over.

Raina fell short of a deserving century while trying to hit Munaf Patel but scooped the ball to Graeme Smith.

Chasing 165, Rajasthan Royals faltered from the start and failed to get a good partnership. Ravindra Jadeja (37) played a lone hand but that was not good enough to take his team closer to a win.

Super Kings’ bowlers were disciplined in their performance and Morkel got some good swing with the new ball. He picked up Graeme Smith (2) and Swapnil Asnodkar (10) while Balaji wrecked the middle-order.