Delhi Capitals duo Amit Mishra and Ishant Sharma took three wickets apiece before Rishabh Pant's third half-century of the 2019 Indian Premier League ended Rajasthan Royals' play-off hopes. 

Rajasthan had to win if they were to have a chance of securing a top-four finish but Delhi, who had already qualified for the playoffs, chased down a modest target of 116 with 23 balls to spare to clinch a five-wicket victory.

The Royals were four down before the powerplay thanks to some excellent early bowling from Ishant (3-38) and Trent Boult (2-27) before Mishra (3-17) took wickets with back-to-back deliveries - a drop from Boult then denying him a hat-trick in the 12th over.

Riyan Parag (50) - twice out in the 40s earlier in the tournament - became the youngest half-centurion in IPL history at 17 years and 175 days to drag the Royals to a total of 115-9 that never looked like being enough.

Though the likes of Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan and Shreyas Iyer all fell cheaply in reply, Pant (53 not out) stuck around to see his team over the line, sealing victory with his fifth maximum.

 

BOULT AT FAULT AS MISHRA MISSES HAT-TRICK

There have been just 19 hat-tricks in IPL history, and Delhi leg-spinner Mishra has taken three of them.

A fourth personal treble and a 20th in tournament history was on the cards when the Capitals bowler had Shreyas Gopal stumped before Stuart Binny nicked behind.

New batsman Krishnappa Gowtham then mistimed a slog-sweep first up, but confusion in the field meant Boult was late in attempting to make the catch and he grassed the chance.

 

PANT'S ON FIRE SINCE WORLD CUP SNUB

Two men who missed out on places in India's Cricket World Cup squad - Ajinkya Rahane and Pant - were in action on Saturday but only one of those showed evidence the selectors may have made an error.

Rahane made a century the last time these two sides met but it came in a losing cause, with Pant's 78 not out guiding the Capitals to a six-wicket win.

This time around, Rajasthan captain Rahane was out for just two while Pant made his second unbeaten half-century since being overlooked for his country's World Cup party.

A modest target was hard work for Delhi until Pant stepped up, blasting 24 off the last six balls he faced to bring about the end in a hurry.

Rain ended Royal Challengers Bangalore's hopes of progressing to the IPL play-offs as their contest with Rajasthan Royals ended in no result.

Inclement weather had led the match to be shortened to a five-over contest.

However, all 10 overs could not be completed before the rain returned again to put paid to RCB's challenge. They remain bottom on nine points, three adrift of fourth with a game to go. Rajasthan are fifth on 11 points and still in the hunt for now.

There was at least time for Shreyas Gopal to produce a superb performance as the spinner claimed a hat-trick to help restrict RCB to 62-7.

RCB captain Virat Kohli (25) and AB de Villiers (10) made a flying start as the former cleared the rope three times and the South African struck a pair of fours.

The skipper, who had hit Gopal for 12 runs off the first three deliveries of the second over, then watched the bowler produce a spectacular response.

A Kohli attempt to lift over long on saw him hole out to Liam Livingstone and De Villiers sliced to Riyan Parag before Marcus Stoinis became the hat-trick wicket as he presented Steve Smith with a dolly at mid-off.

RCB never recovered and the wickets continued to tumble amid their increasingly desperate and ultimately futile efforts to turn the tide. Sanju Samson (28) and Livingstone (11 not out) guided the Royals to 41-1 before the heavens opened once more with 10 balls left.

Rajasthan Royals boosted their hopes of making the Indian Premier League play-offs with a comfortable seven-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad on Saturday.

The Royals wrapped up victory with just five balls remaining, though they had been cruising for long periods in their run chase after Jaydev Unadkat (2-26) had sparkled with the ball and also in the field.

Rajasthan's target was an achievable 161, despite Manish Pandey's 61, and contributions from the top four in the batting order helped see them home in the final over.

Ajinkya Rahane made 39, Liam Livingstone 44 and Sanju Samson hit an unbeaten 48 as the Royals made sure they remain right in the mix for a top-four finish.

 

SMITH CHECKS WARNER'S MOMENTUM

Sunrisers started steadily enough despite losing captain Kane Williamson early for 13, with David Warner and Pandey combining well at the crease.

Warner looked to be cruising towards a record-breaking sixth consecutive half-century in this season's competition until Australia team-mate Steve Smith intervened.

The pair have regularly shared headlines since last year's ball-tampering scandal and, on opposing sides here, Smith denied Warner a piece of history. He executed a sublime, diving right-handed catch to dismiss his compatriot for 37.

WICKETS FALL DESPITE SLOPPINESS

Rather than take the lead of captain Smith, the Royals' fielding was a real mix as they were given multiple opportunities to take control after Pandey was stumped.

Catches were carelessly put down but Unadkat impressed. As well as a pair of wickets – including getting Deepak Hooda caught and bowled for a golden duck – he clung on to catches from Vijay Shankar (8) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1).

Despite the wasted chances, Rajasthan slowed Sunrisers slightly from 103-1 to 160-8. It was an all-round good bowling performance for the Royals as newby, Oshane Thomas bagged 2-28, Jaydev Unadkat had 2-26, Shreyas Gopal had 2-30, and Varun Aaron, 2-36.

RAJASTHAN GO STEADY ALL THE WAY

An 18-run return from Hyderabad's final over gave the Royals a slightly tougher target, but they never looked in real danger of falling short.

It took Sunrisers until the 10th over to take the first wicket of Livingstone, with Samson arriving in the middle and quickly impressing.

Smith's dismissal later in the innings brought Ashton Turner to the middle, looking to avoid a fourth consecutive IPL duck - a potential record - but he was quickly smiling after getting off the mark with a single.

Requiring nine from the final two overs, the Royals' patient approach was rewarded when Samson pulled a short ball to the boundary to complete the job.

Teenager Riyan Parag and the departing Jofra Archer lifted Rajasthan Royals to a three-wicket triumph in the Indian Premier League as Kolkata Knight Riders' misery continued.

The Knight Riders have not won since their last meeting with the Royals - a run now stretching to six matches - but captain Dinesh Karthik looked to have them on their way to victory on Thursday.

He made an unbeaten 97 to help set a target of 176, with the majority of those runs coming in the final few overs of Kolkata's innings after a slow start saw Varun Aaron (2-20) impress with the ball.

But the Knight Riders did not account for a crucial late partnership of 44 between Parag and Archer, who was playing his final match before leaving to link up with England for the first time.

Parag, just 17, hit 47, before Archer (27 not out off 12) took Kolkata to 177-7 with four balls to spare in a stunning finish.

 

AARON EVERYWHERE FOR ROYALS

The Royals bowled superbly early on to initially keep the scoring down, with Aaron setting the tone as he took two wickets for just 10 runs through his three overs in the powerplay.

In the field, Aaron caught at point from Nitish Rana (21) to check the Knight Riders' momentum again.

Some sloppy fielding and well-placed drives followed as Sunil Narine (11) threatened to partner the big-hitting Karthik, but Aaron soon intervened again, launching in a throw to see the West Indies man - deemed not fit enough for their Cricket World Cup squad - run out chasing a second.

KOLKATA'S KARTHIK KEEPS GOING

Aaron could do nothing to slow Karthik, though, and the Kolkata batsman inspired his side almost singlehandedly to a very solid total.

The Knight Riders were 100-4 through 15 overs but incredibly ended on 175-6, with Karthik contributing 55 of those 75 runs in a remarkable finish. Four of his incredible nine maximums came in the final two overs.

It was a much-needed contribution as Ajinkya Rahane (34), who agreed to join County Championship side Hampshire on Thursday, and Sanju Samson (22) combined for an early partnership of 53 from 32 deliveries in reply.

LATE PAIRING DOES THE JOB

The Royals had dropped Ashton Tucker off the back of three straight ducks, but they still struggled to fire after Rahane and Samson departed, with Narine snaring skipper Steve Smith for just two for his second wicket of the innings.

Piyush Chawla (3-20) also contributed handily for Kolkata with a trio of wickets and Rajasthan were left looking for someone to replicate Karthik's earlier efforts.

They had two men step up to the plate, though, in Parag and Archer.

The 17-year-old looked as though he would do it on his own when he rifled a big six in the penultimate over, only to then knock off his own stumps from the next ball, meaning it was left to Archer to bow out in style.

Ajinkya Rahane's magnificent century was in vain as Rishabh Pant blasted Delhi Capitals to a six-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals which put them top of the Indian Premier League.

The Royals had little margin for error in their bid to make the play-offs and Rahane showed he is not feeling sorry for himself after being sacked as captain by scoring a brilliant 105 not out from only 63 balls.

Steve Smith, who was appointed as skipper on Saturday, made 50 from 32 deliveries in the Royals' total of 191-6 in Jaipur on Monday.

But that was not enough to deny the Capitals top spot, Pant smashing an unbeaten 78 from just 36 balls after another half-century from the in-form Shikhar Dhawan (54 off 27).

Prithvi Shaw also chipped in with 42 for a Delhi side that moved level on points with Chennai Super Kings, who have a game in hand. 

 

RAHANE SHOWS HIS CLASS WITH HELP FROM ISHANT

Rahane silenced his critics in emphatic fashion after enduring a difficult few days.

Sanju Samson was run out without facing a ball following a mix-up with Rahane, who was then dropped by Ishant Sharma with only 16 to his name.

The classy opener made amends with an outstanding knock, racing to a half-century in only 32 balls and hitting three sixes and 11 fours as he batted through the innings.

 

WICKETS HALT ROYALS' MOMENTUM

Smith also played with fluency to score a second successive fifty, but the Royals lost their way after the skipper struck Axar Patel to Chris Morris at long off.

Ben Stokes (8) fell cheaply and there was a third consecutive golden duck for Ashton Turner as the Capitals put the brakes on.

Kagiso Rabada (2-37) struck twice in the final over, with Rajasthan failing to post 200 after losing momentum. 

 

DHAWAN DELIVERS AGAIN, PANT FINISHES IT OFF

Dhawan played the role of chief aggressor in an opening stand of 72 with Shaw to get the Capitals ahead of the required rate. 

The dangerous left hander launched Dhawal Kulkarni and Shreyas Gopal for sixes as Delhi got off to a flyer.

Gopal claimed a measure of revenge by getting him stumped, but Pant took centre stage with a match-winning knock - hitting the second ball of the last over from Jaydev Unadkat for his fourth six to send the Capitals to the summit.

Steve Smith scored a fifty in his first match as captain to lead the Rajasthan Royals to a five-wicket victory over the Mumbai Indians on Saturday.

Australia international Smith replaced Ajinkya Rahane as skipper after a run of two wins in eight Indian Premier League matches for the Royals, and he made 59 off 48 balls as they triumphed in Jaipur.

Smith won the toss and put the Indians in to bat but may have been regretting his decision as Quinton de Kock (65) and Suryakumar Yadav (34) built a 97-run partnership after the early loss of Rohit Sharma (5).

In his first outing since being named in the England squad for pre-Cricket World Cup ODIs against Pakistan and Ireland, Jofra Archer made a trio of drops as he endured a miserable day in the field.

Archer somewhat atoned by removing Hardik Pandya (23) in the final over, with Mumbai – who were without Jos Buttler, who returned to England to attend the birth of his first child – setting a target of 162.

Rahul Chahar's trio of wickets disrupted the Royals in the opening eight overs of the chase but Mumbai toiled as Smith and 17-year-old Riyan Parag (43) built a 70-run fourth-wicket stand.

Ben Cutting and Pandya combined brilliantly to run out Parag with 14 balls remaining, but Smith hit straight back with a four and his fifth of the match sealed the victory with five deliveries remaining.

 

ARCHER LACKING A STRING TO HIS BOW?

The first of Archer's drops came when he dived forward at long-on and failed to hold on to left-hander De Kock, who punished Dhawal Kulkarni by plundering 18 runs – including one maximum – off the next four deliveries.

Archer came in off the deep midwicket boundary and let Pandya slip through his fingers in the 17th over and spilled him again at long on in the penultimate set of six.

However, three of his four overs came at the death and he removed Pandya upon review with a blistering yorker that crashed into his front boot, finishing with figures of 1-22.

 

TURNER ROUND, ASHTON

Ashton Turner made his ODI debut in March but missed out on selection for the Cricket World Cup and the Australian's Twenty20 struggles continued against Mumbai.

The middle-order batsman was trapped lbw first ball by Jasprit Bumrah and has now failed to register a single run in his past four T20 innings.

Jofra Archer returned outstanding figures of 3-15 the day before England's Cricket World Cup squad announcement, but Rajasthan Royals still suffered a 12-run defeat to Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League.

Archer could potentially be included in the England squad for the first time this week and he certainly made an impression in his four overs on Tuesday, albeit in vain.

KL Rahul made 52 as, despite Archer's best efforts, the Kings XI racked up a healthy total of 182-6.

In reply, Jos Buttler failed to truly fire, falling for 23 in the fifth over to ensure he did not face Ravichandran Ashwin, the India bowler who dismissed him via a 'Mankad' when these two sides met earlier in the competition.

Ashwin (17 not out from four balls and 2-24) was ultimately named man of the match as the Royals, who left out Steve Smith, were limited to 170-7 despite 50 from Rahul Tripathi and Stuart Binny striking 33 not out from 11 deliveries at the death.

 

STORMING GAYLE BELATEDLY HALTED

Archer, the centre of much attention this week, was beaten on the boundary in the second over as Chris Gayle hit the first of two successive sixes off Jaydev Unadkat.

The Royals were made to pay for Archer's poor positioning as Gayle raced to 30, but it was the England prospect who snared a key wicket when the big-hitter edged behind.

Archer went on to catch Mayank Agarwal off Ish Sodhi for 26, yet the Kings XI were now firing on all cylinders and there appeared to be no slowing the home side.

ASHWIN RUINS ARCHER FIGHTBACK

A partnership of 85 between Rahul and David Miller (40 off 27) preceded a frenetic conclusion to the Kings XI innings.

Archer looked set to steal the show when he removed Nicholas Pooran (5) and Mandeep Singh in a superb 19th over, which went for just three runs.

Dhawal Kulkarni then picked up the wicket of Miller at the start of the final set of six, but 18 runs came from the remainder of the over thanks to Ashwin's timely cameo.

ROYALS SHORT IN TENSE FINISH

Buttler went too early to face a single delivery from Ashwin, but his opening partner Tripathi made a fifty and the Royals scored at a steady rate.

However, by the time Ashwin removed Tripathi in the 16th over, the run-rate had spiralled and Rajasthan's remaining batsmen were left with too much to do.

Binny did his best to keep his side in the hunt, striking three sixes and two fours, but Mohammed Shami comfortably defended a target of 23 in the final over.

Rajasthan Royals threatened to waste a Jos Buttler batting masterclass before limping to a four-wicket win over Mumbai Indians on Saturday.

Quinton de Kock made 81 and Rohit Sharma 47 as Mumbai posted 187-5 at the Wankhede Stadium, a score that looked competitive until Buttler fired in Rajasthan's reply, smashing 89 from just 43 deliveries.

The England international allowed opening partner Ajinkya Rahane to do the early damage but the departure of his captain, caught for 37 when sweeping Krunal Pandya out to deep square leg, led to Buttler changing gears.

Alzarri Joseph suffered at the hands of the right-hander, conceding 28 runs in one over as the Royals' equation suddenly dropped to a run-a-ball rate.

Yet they made hard work of completing the job, losing four wickets in a hurry to give Mumbai hope before Shreyas Gopal got his side home with three balls to spare with a boundary off Hardik Pandya.

The Royals - who were without the injured Ben Stokes - eventually picked up just their second victory of the campaign, with Mumbai missing out on the chance to leapfrog over Kolkata Knight Riders into second place in the table.

 

A WEEK IS A LONG TIME IN THE IPL...

On April 6, Joseph claimed 6-12 on his Mumbai debut, the best bowling figures in the history of the Indian Premier League.

A week on from his record-breaking start in the competition, the West Indies paceman had a vastly different Twenty20 experience. His three overs in the game went for 53 runs, with Buttler ruining his figures.

The right-hander book-ended a pair of maximums with a quartet of fours in Joseph's last over, the bowler unable to find a way to stem the flow of boundaries despite changes in both his pace and length.

Buttler's quest to hit a seventh successive boundary resulted in his downfall, however, as he only picked out long on when trying to deposit Rahul Chahar over the rope.

 

FAST START, POWERFUL FINISH FOR MUMBAI

Rohit and De Kock shared an opening stand worth 96 for the home team, with the former back leading the team again after missing the victory over Kings XI Punjab due to injury.

South African De Kock hit four maximums before falling to Jofra Archer, who finished with figures of 3-39.

However, his departure set the scene for a late cameo from Hardik Pandya, the India all-rounder belting three sixes as he contributed an unbeaten 28 from just 11 deliveries.

His onslaught gave Mumbai a much-needed lift in the closing overs, though Buttler's belligerent hitting meant it was the Royals who came out on top in the end.

MS Dhoni has been fined 50 per cent of his match fee after breaking the Indian Premier League's Code of Conduct in Chennai Super Kings' thrilling win over Rajasthan Royals.

The India great became the first captain to rack up 100 IPL wins after Mitchell Santner whacked a last-ball six to earn a thrilling four-wicket triumph in Jaipur.

However, in a final over of the highest drama, Dhoni was bowled by a Ben Stokes yorker but soon came back onto the pitch to remonstrate with umpires after a no ball was contentiously revoked following a high one from the England all-rounder against Santner.

The IPL said via a statement: "MS Dhoni, the Chennai Super Kings captain, was fined 50 per cent of his match fees for breaching the VIVO Indian Premier League's [IPL] Code of Conduct during his team's match against Rajasthan Royals at Jaipur.

"Mr Dhoni admitted to the Level 2 offence 2.20 of the IPL's Code of Conduct and accepted the sanction."

The fine takes some of the shine off his performance for the table-topping Super Kings, with Dhoni having contributed 58 off 43 to his team's winning cause.

Mitchell Santner whacked a mammoth six off the last ball in a final over of the highest drama as Chennai Super Kings won a barnstorming Indian Premier League contest against Rajasthan Royals by four wickets.

A 95-run stand from Ambati Rayudu (57) and MS Dhoni (58) had the Super Kings seemingly coasting to their target of 152.

But a brilliant running catch from Shreyas Gopal ended Rayudu's knock off Ben Stokes' bowling to stem the momentum and Chennai were left needing 18 off the final six.

A dramatic final over saw Dhoni bowled by a Stokes yorker, but the captain was soon back on the field to vent his anger that a high one delivered to Santner was not called as a no ball.

However, Dhoni - who becomes the first captain to chalk up 100 IPL wins - saw his frown turn upside down when Santner launched Stokes for six over long on to extend the Super Kings' lead at the top of the table and leave the Royals with a single win to their name.

CENTURION JADEJA AND SANTNER KEEP ROYALS IN CHECK

Bar a swift 23 off 10 balls from Jos Buttler, few from the top-to-middle order impressed for the Royals.

Ravindra Jadeja kept the Royals' run-rate in check and the second of his wickets, which saw Steve Smith slog-sweep to Rayudu at midwicket, saw him rack up a 100th IPL scalp.

Santner's 1-25 also helped play a part and it was left to Gopal's entertaining 19 off seven to take the Royals to 151-7 after Stokes had hit 28 off 26.

 

RAYUDU AND DHONI LEAD RECOVERY

A top-order collapse saw Shane Watson (0), Suresh Raina (4), Faf Du Plessis (7) and Kedar Jadhav (1) depart – the latter via an astonishing Stokes catch plucked to his left at backwards point – to leave the Super Kings reeling on 24-4.

But Rayudu smacked three sixes and two fours off just 47 balls, with Dhoni racking up the same boundaries off 43 to turn the tide.

STUNNING FINALE

Rayudu's wicket completely altered the match and it looked as though the Royals would take the win before a final over for the IPL ages.

It started with Jadeja falling over as he smacked smack a six straight back over Stokes' head, before Dhoni's dismissal looked like the final nail in the visitors' coffin.

An angry confrontation for the revoked no ball further worsened Dhoni's mood until Santner's last-gasp slog sealed a memorable win.

Chris Lynn and Sunil Narine's fearless batting ensured Kolkata Knight Riders made light work of Rajasthan Royals in a dominant eight-wicket Indian Premier League win.

Steve Smith made 73 off 59 but the Royals' pedestrian 139-3 on a slow track at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium proved well below par.

Lynn (50) and Narine's (47) partnership had yet to truly burst into life this season, but an opening stand of 91 laid the foundations for a victory that was sealed with 37 balls remaining.

It is a win that sends the high-flying Knight Riders back to the top of the table after five matches, while the Royals are second-bottom with just one win to their name.


IN-FORM RUSSELL LEFT RESTLESS

Andre Russell has been the star of the IPL this season, smashing 207 runs from four innings at an astonishing strike-rate of 268.83.

But such was the ease of the Knight Riders' win, the West Indies international was not needed in Jaipur.

There was a display of 'Lynnsanity' as the Australia batsman smoked 50 off 32, nailing six fours and three sixes – including a mammoth effort over midwicket that struck the windscreen of a sponsor car.

Narine matched Lynn for fours and sixes, with his knock coming off just 25 balls.


SMITH SHOW IN VAIN, GURNEY IMPRESSES ON DEBUT

Initially, the pitch in Jaipur appeared favourable to the batsmen, but the fact the big-hitting Jos Buttler scored a sedate 37 off 34 suggested otherwise.

A sandstorm in the area before the match was more volatile than the Royals' batting, although Smith's 73 off 59 – including seven fours and a six – will be pleasing to Australia fans ahead of the Cricket World Cup.

Debutant Harry Gurney impressed for Kolkata with the ball, the seamer finishing with figures of 2-25 including tempting Buttler with a slower one that Shubman Gill took impressively on the deep-midwicket boundary.

Ravichandran Ashwin says his "conscience is clear" and he cannot be branded a villain for 'Mankading' Jos Buttler.

Ashwin sparked outrage in the cricket fraternity when he whipped off the bails without warning Buttler during an Indian Premier League encounter between Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab last month.

Kings XI captain Ashwin defended his actions after his side went on to claim a controversial win and the India spinner maintains he has done nothing wrong.

"There is nothing to defend," Ashwin told Aaj Tak TV. "As I said in the press conference that day, it happened instinctively, it was not a plan that 'Buttler will go outside [the crease] and I have to get him'. Although he did do it four or five times.

"They didn't want to take risks against my bowling that day, so what they were doing was pushing the ball on the legside and trying to take twos.

"I saw that he'd done it four or five times, and it's there in the rules that if the batsman goes out of his crease, you can run him out. It's the batsman's responsibility to stay behind the crease.

"The most important thing for me is what is my conscience saying, and my conscience is clear. Those who know me well know that I will never do something illegal. You can't say that 'Ashwin is a villain because of this'. Because this is not my character trait.

"You don't tell someone who has hit a bowler for 30 runs in an over that he is not a good person. He will hit the bowler, that's part of the game. And whatever rule is there in the game, I took advantage of that. I'm not denying I did that, but that's the rule.

"If someone doesn't like it, and you think it doesn't fit into sportsmanship in cricket, then you should remove the rule."

Shreyas Gopal bamboozled struggling Royal Challengers Bangalore and Jos Buttler blasted a half-century as Rajasthan Royals got up and running in the Indian Premier League with a seven-wicket win.

There was more misery for Virat Kohli in his 100th game as RCB captain at Sawai Mansingh Stadium, where his side could only post 158-4 after Gopal took 3-12 from his four overs on Tuesday.

Gopal doubled his wicket tally for the tournament with a brilliant leg-spinning exhibition, dismissing Kohli, AB de Villiers and Shimron Hetmyer.

Parthiv Patel top scored with 67 from 41 balls for Bangalore, who were thrashed by Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday, but his first half-century of the 2019 IPL was not enough to prevent his side from being the only team without a victory.

The Royals, missing Sanju Samson due to a niggle, sealed their first two points after Buttler smashed 59 from 43 balls.

Yuzvendra Chahal (2-17) gave RCB hope, but Steve Smith made 38 and Rahul Tripathi capitalised on being dropped early in his innings to score an unbeaten 34, hitting a six to win it off the penultimate ball.

GOPAL PUTS RCB IN A SPIN

Kohli moved up to open for the second time in the tournament, but the skipper missed out in his landmark match as skipper.

Parthiv and Kohli put on 49 before Gopal claimed the huge wicket of the mercurial India captain, who was flummoxed by a ripper of a googly and bowled through the gate for 23.

De Villiers was caught and bowled in the tweaker's next over and he had a third wicket when Hetmyer was caught behind, reducing RCB to 73-3 midway through their innings.

It was left for Parthiv - who struck a six and nine fours - to lay the platform for a late flurry from debutant Marcus Stoinis (31 not out from 28) and Moeen Ali (18no off 9)

 

BUTTLER SERVES UP ANOTHER TREAT

Buttler failed twice after he was the victim of a Ravichandran Ashwin 'Mankad' but he was back in the groove at the top of the order.

The explosive wicketkeeper-batsman struck Navdeep Saini for back-to-back boundaries after Ajinkya Rahane was dropped by Kohli in the second over and did the same to Stoinis in his first over for his new franchise.

Buttler continued to rocket along, reaching his half-century from 38 balls with a glorious straight drive off England team-mate Moeen, who he also pulled for six before he struck the crafty Chahal - who also removed Rahane - to Stoinis at long-off.

 

RAHUL ENSURES RCB TRIP UP AGAIN

Smith was not at his fluent best, but used his experience to rotate the strike and score at over a run a ball.

Chahal should have had a third wicket when Umesh Yadav dropped Tripathi in the deep on nine before Smith hammered Mohammed Siraj for six. 

Smith fell off the final ball of the 19th over from Siraj, but with only five needed from the last over, Tripathi hooked Yadav over the ropes to win it in emphatic fashion.

MS Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo provided end-of-innings heroics as reigning champions Chennai Super Kings maintained their 100 per cent record in the 2019 Indian Premier League with an eight-run triumph over winless Rajasthan Royals.

Dhoni was chiefly responsible for lifting the Super Kings from 27-3 to 175-5, the former India skipper - who was dropped by Krishnappa Gowtham on 28 - accelerating superbly to 75 not out from 46 balls as Chennai blasted 60 from the final three overs of their innings, with Bravo contributing 27 from 16.

The Royals recovered from a poor start of their own in reply and needed 12 from the final over with Ben Stokes (46 off 26) and Jofra Archer (24 not out off 11) at the crease and scoring freely.

However, Bravo dismissed Stokes with the first ball of the last set of six and gave up only three runs with his remaining deliveries to secure another CSK triumph.

Rajasthan's defeat was particularly harsh on Archer, who returned 2-17 in a superb bowling performance before helping to keep the game alive with the bat.

Archer even kept things tight at the end of Chennai's innings with Dhoni in full flow, giving up just eight runs in the 19th over. Unfortunately for the Royals, the 18th and 20th overs - bowled by Dhawal Kulkarni and Jaydev Unadkat - went for 24 and 28 respectively, Dhoni hitting the last three legal deliveries for six.

Unadkat finished with horrendous figures of 1-54 from four overs, having also bowled two wides at the death.

 

RAHANE CONVINCED A WIN NOT FAR AWAY

The Royals' search for a first triumph in 2019 goes on after a third narrow defeat from as many matches.

Skipper Ajinkya Rahane, who fell for a second-ball duck at the start of the chase, said: "I think what cost us was the last five overs [of the Super Kings' innings]. We all know when MS bats in that situation, it's very hard for any bowler.

"Winning the small, small moments, that's what matters. I think we are playing some good cricket, some luck with us and I think we can change that tide."

 

AGELESS TAHIR STILL PUTTING BATSMEN IN A SPIN

Imran Tahir turned 40 earlier this week, but the South Africa spinner remains one of the best bowlers in T20 cricket.

Tahir returned 2-23 from four overs and claimed the important scalps of Rahul Tripathi (39) and Steve Smith (28) to join Bravo and Yuzvendra Chahal at the top of the tournament's wicket-taking charts.

 

David Warner got the better of Steve Smith as Sunrisers Hyderabad recorded a five-wicket victory over Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League. 

Friday's match saw the two Australians go head-to-head after the 12-month bans for their involvement in the ball-tampering scandal came to an end. 

Smith's duties were limited to time in the field as the Royals posted 198-2 from their 20 overs, the former Australia captain not getting to the crease as Sanju Samson (102) struck the first hundred of the 2019 IPL season. 

He was ably assisted by Ajinkya Rahane (71), but their efforts were in vain as the Warner-inspired Sunrisers completed their highest IPL run chase. 

Warner and Jonny Bairstow provided a superb start as they shared a 110-run opening stand, the Australian taking the role of aggressor with nine fours and two maximums. 

Ben Stokes (1-40) accounted for Warner but his England team-mate Bairstow (45) continued to impress until he was superbly caught on the boundary by Dhawal Kulkarni. 

It would not halt the Sunrisers' charge, though, as Vijay Shankar (35) and Yusuf Pathan (16 not out) delivered some lusty blows to give Hyderabad renewed momentum. 

Shreyas Gopal took two wickets in as many balls to give Rajasthan hope, but successive boundaries from Rashid Khan (15no) – the latter a clipped six over square leg – sealed Hyderabad's first win of the tournament.

 

SENSATIONAL SAMSON

As Hyderabad celebrated, spare a thought for Samson. He batted beautifully for the Royals, who opted to bat first after winning the toss.

The 24-year-old combined brilliantly with Rahane after Jos Buttler's early exit for 5, helping push Rajasthan to a competitive total with 10 boundaries and four sixes.

He reached three figures in just 54 balls as he slapped Bhuvneshwar Kumar (0-55) for four midway through the final over, but ultimately his ton was to be in a losing cause.

BYE BYE BAIRSTOW

Bairstow played second fiddle to Warner in the early stages but once he got motoring the England batsman looked in fine form.

He must have felt it too because when he launched a huge drive over long-off, the 29-year-old could not quite believe Kulkarni had taken a superb catch.

Kulkarni - who had earlier dropped the same batsman - judged his jump to perfection and clung on with his fingertips, sending the right-hander on his way.

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