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Bridging The Gap
IPL 2018: Shane Watson ton proves too good for RR as CSK return to winning ways
  Friday 20 April, 2018
IPL 2018: Shane Watson ton proves too good for RR as CSK return to winning ways

Aussie Shane Watson scored the second century of IPL 2018 as Chennai beat Rajasthan by 64 runs in Pune on Friday.

Chasing 205 to win, RR lost early wickets and never really recovered from there. Shardul Thakur removed Heinrich Klaasen (2) in the second over and after that Deepak Chahar took over.

Chahar bowled four overs on the trot and returned 2/30 to leave the Rajasthan chase in bad shape. First, he removed the in-form Sanju Samson (7) through a short ball as the RR batsman found Karn Sharma in the deep. Then in his next over, he got the big fish - Ajinkya Rahane. Cleaning up a batsman as accomplished as Rahane (16) is no small achievement but Chahar used the knuckle-ball dexterously to rattle his stumps to tilt the game heavily in CSK's favour.

Ben Stokes scored a 37-ball 45 to be Rajasthan's highest scorer and that highlighted how poor the visitors were in their chase. They could only go as far as 140 all out in 18.3 overs.

Watson batted like a man possessed against his former team after early reprieves. He reached his century off 51 balls, hitting nine fours and six sixes in the process.

The 36-year-old eventually fell for 106 off 57 balls as fellow Aussie Ben Laughlin had him caught behind in the last over of the innings. Watson and Suresh Raina (46 off 29 balls) added 81 for the second to lay the foundations for a big score.

"Catches win matches" is a famous expression in the game of cricket. Rajasthan's Rahul Tripathi seemed to forget that when he dropped Watson twice.

Stuart Binny, playing his first game this season, bowled the first over of the match and his first delivery, shockingly, was a no-ball. Watson was quick to punish him off the free-hit delivery with a boundary. Then the Aussie added insult to injury by picking up another boundary off the next ball, this time through the covers.

Binny, to his credit, didn't lose his heart and continued pitching the ball outside the off-stump near the good-length spot. His effort bore fruition off the fifth ball as Watson found a thick edge. Sadly for Binny, Tripathi dropped what, by all means, was a regulation catch in the slips.

In the next over, another catch came Tripathi's way, again from Watson's bat. At point, he made a much better effort this time but again couldn't finish the job

Thereafter Watson ran amok and reached a breathtaking century, second this season after Chris Gayle's for Punjab on Thursday.

Earlier, RR won the toss and decided to have a field at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Chennai's new home for the rest of the season following the Cauvery controversy.

Rajasthan made two changes to their team: South African Klaasen and Binny came in as D'Arcy Short and Dhawal Kulkarni made way. For CSK, Raina and Karn came in. Raina returned from injury, while spinner Karn got his first game this season

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