Overcoming a middling batting performance with a commanding show by their bowlers, CSK bossed the contest despite looking in danger while RR batsman Jos Buttler was going strong at the crease.
In a game where both teams went in unchanged, there are several questions both sides left unanswered. Shivam Dube has been unable to make any sort of impression for RR, while MS Dhoni couldn't find a way back into form as he took six balls to get off the mark. As it happened, the turn on the pitch made all the difference as Ravindra Jadeja and Moeen Ali were unplayable.
RR have some thinking to do regarding the way their middle order gave way after being in a strong position. Here are the top three reasons why RR lost to CSK.
#3 Poor death bowling by RR
CSK's batting depth got a chance to show itself in full as both sides lost nine wickets each in their 20 overs. While nobody from the CSK lineup scored more than 40, there were a number of handy contributions throughout the batting order, particularly in the death overs.
Though Chetan Sakariya picked up three wickets once more, his last over went for 15 runs as MS Dhoni and then Sam Curran struck a four and a six respectively off him. Designated death bowler Chris Morris had a tough time as he conceded 25 runs off his last two, while Mustafizur Rahman's last over went for 15 runs.
The flurry of runs, with Dwayne Bravo contributing an 8-ball 20, moved CSK's total from below-par to competitive on the surface.
#2 Top-order woes for RR
Since the departure of Ben Stokes after an injury, Jos Buttler has become RR's fulcrum at the top of the order. While he did his job - with an attacking 49 - it was the way the rest of the RR top four played that truly ensured CSK were in the driver's seat once Buttler fell.
Manan Vohra, in his third opportunity at the top, failed to impress with an 11-ball 14. Incidentally, Vohra has just scored 3 fifties in 50 innings at the top in the IPL. Sanju Samson's form suddenly looks to have let him down, while Shivam Dube looked utterly unconvincing in his momentum-sapping 20-ball 17 for RR.
The team has the likes of young Yashasvi Jaiswal, Anuj Rawat and Mahipal Lomror who could get opportunities instead of Dube and Vohra.
#1 CSK's spin trap arrives at IPL 2021
Ravindra Jadeja's stunning transformation as a batsman over the past few years has seen his efficacy as a limited-overs bowler fall by the wayside a little bit. Last year's IPL saw him at his best with the bat and near his worst with the ball. But he chose CSK's third game of IPL 2021 to rubbish concerns regarding his bowling.
In probably the defining moment of the game, Jadeja pitched one on middle stump and got it to turn away from the well-set Jos Buttler's blade to disturb his stumps. After his double-wicket over, Moeen Ali ensured there was no opportunity for RR to come back as he picked up three wickets - aided by some senseless slogging by Chris Morris and Riyan Parag.
CSK have invested a lot in their spin-bowling all-rounders - Krishnappa Gowtham is waiting in the wings - and an encouraging display by them boosts the team's season prospects.