The last couple of days of the Indian Premier League haven't been for the faint-hearted and the Chennai Super Kings-Rajasthan Royals match on Wednesday, April 12, 2023, saw another edge-of-the-seat contest.
In front of a packed Chepauk chanting 'Dhoni! Dhoni!' and 'CSK! CSK!', Sandeep Sharma held his nerve to deny CSK a win.
It was Mahendra Singh Dhoni's milestone match as he played his 200th game as CSK captain. And Thala almost took the game away.
But as much as the day belonged to Mahi, it was a memorable day for the Royals as well.
The last time -- and only time -- Rajasthan won in Chennai was back in 2008. The credit for the Royals's thrilling win went to their spinners who restricted the Lions in their den.
Heading into the match, CSK held a 6-1 head-to-head record over the Royals. But records are meant to be broken and brushed aside. And that's exactly what Sanju Samson's men did at Chepauk.
While Chennai native Ravichandran Ashwin impressed with both bat and ball, Yuzvendra Chahal and Adam Zampa delivered with the ball.
It would be foolish to overlook Sandeep Sharma's stellar final over. To be up against Dhoni and keep your nerve, that's a day one doesn't forget too easily.
Here are the top performers of the CSK vs RR match:
Player-of-the-Match Ashwin was handed two lifelines by Moeen Ali and he made it count with a 22-ball 30, which included two huge sixes and a boundary.
Ashwin's fourth-wicket partnership with Jos Buttler was crucial for the Royals as they posted 175/8.
Defending what was adjudged to be an under-par total, Ashwin was clinical with the ball, returning figures of 2/25.
At a stage when CSK looked like they would run away with the chase, Ashwin pocketed the prize scalp of Ajinkya Rahane (31) and then removed Shivam Dube (8).
CSK's Impact Player Ambati Rayudu had just arrived at the crease, but he didn't have any impact on his team's performance. Rayudu's stay at the crease was short as Chahal picked up his first wicket, removing Rayudu for 1 off 2.
The 15th over of the chase belonged to Chahal as he not only removed Rayudu, but also picked up the big wicket of Devon Conway. The CSK opener was set in the middle, having just brought up his half-century.
Chahal became the leading wicket-taker in IPL 2023, having pocketed 10 wickets from four matches.
The Australian came in as the Royals's Impact Player and justified his billing as he picked up Moeen Ali.
Though Zampa went for runs in his four over spell, Ali's wicket came at a crucial juncture of the match.
Buttler struck another half-century, top-scoring with a steady 36-ball 52.
Not only did he score a gritty first half-century against CSK, Buttler also became the third fastest to reach 3,000 runs in the IPL, in terms of innings.
Fastest to 3,000 is Universe Boss Chris Gayle, who achieved the feat in 75 innings. While K L Rahul takes second spot having crossed the landmark in 80 innings, Buttler took 85 innings the reach the mark.
All in all, Royals had several match-winners, but the bowlers stood out with their performance in Chennai.