A poor run for three-time Indian Premier League champions Chennai Super Kings continued after they were pushed to the bottom of the table by Rajasthan Royals following a seven-wicket victory on Monday.
Rajasthan bowled well in the opening stages that helped them dominate the Chennai innings with the ball restricting the MS Dhoni side to 125-5. It was the tournament low for a side batting first in this season of the IPL. Rajasthan reached the target in 17.3 overs losing three wickets.
Rajasthan, for their own good, jumped to the fifth spot from bottom with eight points from 10 games. All four bottom teams were locked on six points prior to Monday’s game with run rate separating them. Last season’s finalists Chennai are now sixth with playoff spot gradually slipping out of their hands.
Chennai have been largely dependent in their top order, particularly Faf du Plessis, and their problems began early after losing the South African captain for 10 and in-form Shane Watson (eight) to be 26-2 in four overs.
Sam Curran (22) tried to stick to the crease but fell to Shreyas Gopal while trying a big shot. Gopal and Tewatia tightened the screws for Chennai in the middle overs as their collective eight overs cost Rajasthan just 32 runs.
Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja forged a half century partnership but lacked intent in their painstaking 46-ball stand. Jadeja top scored for Chennai with a 30-ball 35 hitting four boundaries, while Dhoni made a run-a-ball 28.
Rajasthan had a horrendous start after they lost their first three wickets for just 28 runs. Josh Hazlewood and Deepak Chahar gave perfect start conceding just 37 runs between them in their four-over spells each that Dhoni decided to complete before 10 overs.
With early fall of wickets skipper Steven Smith was too circumspect not going against the Chennai bowling attack. It was Buttler who took the charge and scored fluently once he had himself set in the game. He did the bulk of scoring in their unbroken 98-run stand to make 70 off 48 balls with seven fours and two sixes.
Smith chipped in 26 off 34 with two hits to the fence. Chahar took two wickets for Chennai.