Ravichandran Ashwin's unbeaten death over heroics with the bat has helped Rajasthan Royals (RR) seal the 2nd spot in the points table courtesy of a five-wicket win over the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) at Brabourne on Friday night.
Ashwin smashed an unbeaten 23-ball 40 with the help of two fours and three sixes to seal the run-chase of 151 in the final over.
That Rajasthan had to depend on Ashwin to pull them over the line was a direct consequence of three of their top batsmen- Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson and Shimron Hetmyer- having a poor outing.
Buttler's sluggish form in the 2nd half continued as he got dismissed for a 5-ball 2 by Simarjeet Singh.
Samson struggled for timing, managing a painstaking 20-ball 15 before getting caught & bowled by Mitchell Santner.
Amid all this, Yashasvi Jaiswal continued to hold the fort for his team. The stylish opener scored a well compiled 44-ball 59 with the help of 8 fours and a six.
But when he and Hetmyer (6 off 7 deliveries) fell in quick succession to Prashant Solanki (2/20 in two overs), RR still needed 39 runs in the remaining 3.4 overs.
However, Ashwin, via his sumptuous strokes off Mukesh and Pathirana, ensured that the inaugural champions romped home to set-up a date with the Gujarat Titans in Qualifier 01.
Moeen Ali's 93 helps CSK crawl to 150/6
Earlier, Chennai Super Kings innings rode on Moeen Ali's 57-ball 93 to post 150/6 in 20 overs.
You might wonder how a team can score just 150 when one player has scored 93?
CSK started off like they always do, managing just 15 runs in 3 overs at the cost of Ruturaj Gaikwad's wicket, who nicked off to Trent Boult.
Then came a three-over Tsunami from the bat of Moeen, which saw Chennai blaze their way to 1-75 at the end of the power-play.
Moeen, who smashed his way to a 19-ball 50, was particularly severe on Trent Boult as the stylish southpaw took the Kiwi pacer for a six and five consecutive fours.
The Tsunami ended with the powerplay, and then it was business as usual for CSK batters as they managed 5/75 in the next 14.
Ambati Rayudu (3 off 6 deliveries) and N Jagadeesan (1 off 4 deliveries) never got going, nor did Dhoni, who managed a painstaking unbeaten 28-ball 26.
Even Moeen, who had raced his way to 59 off just 21 deliveries, managed just 34 off the last 36 deliveries he faced.
Chahal (2/26 in 4 overs) and Obed McCoy (2/20 in 4 overs) spells ensured that Rajasthan were able to recover from a Moeen Ali onslaught.
They will now face Gujarat in Qualifier 01 at the Eden Gardens on May 24.
Chennai Super Kings 150/6 (20)
Moeen Ali 93 (57)
Yuzvendra Chahal 2/26 (4)
Obed McCoy 2/20 (4)
Rajasthan Royals 151/5 (19.4)
Yashasvi Jaiswal 59 (44)
R Ashwin 40* (23)
Prashant Solanki 2/20 (2)
Moeen Ali 1/21 (4)
Simarjeet Singh 1/18 (3)
Match Result: Rajasthan Royals won by 5 wickets