Raina hits half-century as CSK score 176/4 against RR
Jaipur: Suresh Raina struck his 34th half-century in IPL as Chennai Super Kings posted a competitive 176 for 4 against Rajasthan Royals, here Friday night.
CSK's most consistent performer over the years, Raina struck 52 off 35 balls with the help of six boundaries and a six, adding 86 runs for the second wicket with veteran Shane Watson (39 off 31 balls).
The duo provided the platform for skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni to launch a final assault smashing 33 off 23 balls in company of Sam Billings (27 off 22 balls).
The duo added 55 runs in 6.4 overs to take the team's total past 175-run mark.
For Royals, Jofra Archer (2/42 in 4 overs) was the most successful bowler even though he got hit towards the end. Leg-spinner Ish Sodhi (1/29 in 4 overs) was the most impressive as he got Raina with a googly which the southpaw tried to slog sweep against the turn.
CSK's top run-getter Ambati Rayudu (12) started off with a couple of boundaries before being played on to a delivery that was kicking up from back of the length.
However Raina batted in his inimitable style along with Watson as they scored runs at a comfortable pace.
Raina started by clipping Archer off his pads to the square leg boundary. In the same over, he got his second boundary with a square drive.
In the next over, he got a couple of more boundaries with a cut and a cover drive off Krishnappa Gowtham. The fifth boundary was a short arm pull over mid-wicket off Ben Stokes.
With Powerplay overs yielding 55 runs, there was a period when CSK did't get a boundary for 21 balls before Ish Sodhi's over (ninth of the innings) helped the duo break shackles.
Watson pulled a Sodhi half-tracker over deep mid-wicket for a six while Raina slog swept the bowler for same result in that particular over, which fetched 16 runs.
Watson, who didn't play too many big strokes got into the groove to hit the out-of-form Jaydev Unadkat (0/34 in 4 overs) for a six over deep mid-wicket.
Watson was finally taken by Archer, who bowled a short one that got big on the batsman and his attempted pull-shot went high up in the air before Jos Buttler caught it. Once Raina was gone, Dhoni and Billings did their bit to take CSK to a reasonable total.