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Vijay heroics outshine brave Royals

Chennai: The Chennai Super Kings kept their chances alive in the IPL by winning a run feast on their home ground against the Rajasthan Royals on Saturday. Murali Vijay came up with a sensational hundred to take the Chennai Super Kings to IPL’s highest team total in three years, a mammoth 246-5. The Royals fought hard in the chase but the total proved too daunting in the end as they fell short by 23 runs.

Vijay blasted 127 off just 56 balls that included eight fours and 11 sixes at the MA Chidambaram stadium. The opener overshadowed Albie Morkel, who was promoted up the order, and bludgeoned a 34-ball 62. The duo put together IPL’s second biggest stand with 152 runs in just 11 overs. Chennai smashed 155 runs in the last 10 overs as 17 sixes were hit along with 19 boundaries in the game.

The Rajasthan Royals put up a brave fight and were in the game till the 16th over. Shane Watson and Naman Ojha kept the Royals alive till Doug Bollinger cleaned up his Australian team mate in the 16th over. Watson smashed five sixes including three off Muttiah Muralitharan in the 15th over. Ojha kept up the fight from one end with his 94 not out but economical overs by Bollinger, who had brilliant figures of two of 15 off his four overs, proved to the decisive factor.

Rajasthan were set up by Michael Lumb (37) and Ojha before Morkel dismissed the England batsman and then snared dangerman Yusuf Pathan (four) one ball later.

Earlier, Vijay and Morkel launched a blitzkrieg attack on the Royals bowlers after a few quiet overs in the middle. Yusuf Pathan was taken by 22 runs in the 14th over and then Shaun Tait was taken apart by Vijay in the next with two gigantic sixes. Sumit Narwal went for 26 runs in the next with four sixes in the over. Warne and Watson were blasted at the death as well and Royals were not helped by wicketkeeper Naman Ojha who dropped Morkel in the 18th over.

After Chennai elected to bat, Matthew Hayden and Vijay took them off to a flier before the Aussie fell for a 21-bal 34 to rookie Shrikant Wagh. Suresh Raina was snared by Warne and the Royals looked to claw back before Morkel and Vijay went berserk.

Morkel finally perished in the last over when Narwal threw down the stumps from mid-off. MS Dhoni also perished off the last ball but a fightback came back a little too late in the day.

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