Former Chennai Super Kings (CSK) veteran Ravichandran Ashwin returned to haunt his former franchise Rajasthan Royals (RR) in IPL 2022 on Friday. His unbeaten 40*(23) proved to be the difference between the two sides. The Royals won by five wickets with two balls to spare and have booked their place in Qualifier 1.
Ashwin walked out to bat at No. 5 when RR were in a precarious situation during a chase of 150 runs. Quite a few eyebrows were raised as they felt Riyan Parag could have been a better option. However, the 35-year-old showed great maturity and accelerated his innings to perfection.
Fans on Twitter hailed Ravichandran Ashwin for playing yet another impactful innings with the bat for RR this season. Some also sympathized for the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) as they will now play the Eliminator as they dropped to third in the table.
Here are some of such reactions:
Ravichandran Ashwin negated Moeen Ali's threat
CSK put up 150 in the first innings, which wasn't a challenging total, but Jos Buttler's poor run in the second half of the season continued for RR. However, young Yashasvi Jaiswal once again proved why he is such an asset to his side's top order by getting them off to another flier. He scored 59 of 44 balls.
Captain Sanju Samson struggled to time the ball at the other end and was dismissed for a scratchy 15 (20). With Jaiswal, Devdutt Padikkal and Shimron Hetmyer all being left-handers, MS Dhoni introduced Moeen Ali's off-spin into the attack.
The move worked like a charm as Ali cleaned up Padikkal. That was when Ravichandran Ashwin was sent to bat. He consolidated RR's innings first and attacked Ali when the time was right.
RR seemed to be coasting home, but young leg-spinner Prashant Solanki picked up the big wickets. He sent Jaiswal and Hetmyer back and brought CSK storming back into the contest.
Some would have betted on RR bottling under pressure. However, Ashwin smashed Solanki for a six and from there on, he never let CSK get back that control in the game.
Finding boundaries and keeping the scoreboard ticking, Ashwin took RR to a thrilling win. This win would definitely boost their morale ahead of a crucial Qualifier 1 against the Gujarat Titans in Kolkata on May 24.