Ravichandran Ashwin's exceptional cameo with the bat along with a fine bowling spell by him and Aramco Purple Cap holder Yuzvendra Chahal sealed a top-two spot for the Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2022 as Chennai Super Kings' forgettable campaign ended in defeat.
Jos Buttler's blip in form continued as he managed just 2, edging CSK pacer Simranjeet Singh to Moeen Ali at first slip.
Yashasvi Jaiswal and Sanju Samson stitched a 51-run stand for the second wicket. While Yash did most of the hitting, Sanju strongly held the other end and allowed the youngster to express himself.
The partnership could have gone further, but Mitchell Santner struck in the ninth over and got the better of Samson, taking a sharp return catch. RR 67/2.
Jaiswal took the onus of the chase after his skipper's exit and scored a brilliant half-century off 39 balls. It was his second fifty this season. He ended up scoring 59 in 44 deliveries, including 8 boundaries and a six, before falling to Prashant Solanki.
Meanwhile, Devdutt Padikkal's dismissal for 3 made way for game-changer Ravichandran Ashwin.
Solanki's double wicket blow which saw Jaiswal depart followed by big-hitter Shimron Hetmyer put CSK on top, but they hadn't reckoned with Ashwin.
The cricketer better known for his bowling scored an all-important 40* off just 23 balls (2 fours and 3 sixes) after being promoted to number four in the batting order.
Questions are always raised about Ashwin coming in so high up the order. RR Coach Kumar Sangakkara seems to have continued faith in Ashwin's ability to bat and deliver what the Royals need.
Ashwin repaid that faith by taking his team on the highway to victory, hitting superb sixes in the 17th and 19th overs. In the last over, he confirmed the win by hitting a boundary.
He also took 1-28 and eclipsed an all-round performance by Moeen Ali who gave CSK a perfect start with a 57-ball 93 and later had figures of 1-21 in his four over spell.
As a result of Ashwin's all-round show, the Royals, second ranked team in the points table, will face Gujarat Titans at Kolkata's Eden Gardens on May 24 with both teams having two chances at making the final.