Steve Smith has smashed an explosive half-century as the Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings combined to equal the record for most sixes in an IPL match.
Rajasthan rode half-centuries from Smith and Sanju Samson to beat the Super Kings by 16 runs in a high-scoring Indian Premier League game on Tuesday.
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Samson blazed nine sixes and a four in his powerful knock of 74 off 32 balls and Smith made 69 off 47 deliveries before Jofra Archer (27 not out) smacked four sixes against South African Lungi Ngidi in the last over to give Rajasthan a strong total of 7-216.
Chennai, who won the toss and elected to field, lost the momentum by the ninth over in their run-chase as they lost four wickets in the space of three overs and were restricted to 6-200.
Faf du Plessis top-scored with 72 off 37 balls and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni narrowed the margin of defeat with his unbeaten 29.
All up there were 33 sixes in the match - the most ever in an IPL game.
It equalled the record set by Chennai and Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 2018 edition of the IPL.
“With 217 on the board, you have to get a very good start, that was not the case,” Dhoni said.
“Without singling out anyone, a controllable we could have controlled is no-balls. Had we not bowled no-balls, we would have been chasing 200, and it would have been a very good game.”
Insane hitting by @IamSanjuSamson👏👏Those sixes were a delight to watch👌👌Outstanding batting by the captain @stevesmith49 supporting Sanju so well👌👏@faf1307 played beautifully but none of the batsmen supported him😔Those 3 sixes by @msdhoni😍 Clinical win by #RR#CSKvRR #IPL— Mayank Agarwal (@Mayankk0611) September 22, 2020
What a performance by #Samson. 9 sixes, that's insane. And I'm speechless after #Archer hit those 4 consecutive sixes to Ngidi. #Dhoni sixes came late. Maybe Dhoni needs to come at no.5 to handle the game. Need to get rid of Vijay#CSKvsRR #RR #IPL2020— Abhijit Deshmukh (@iabhijitdesh) September 22, 2020
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Samson grabbed two catches behind the wickets and also stumped Sam Curran and Ruturaj Gaikwad, who recovered from COVID-19 as leg-spinner Rahul Tewatia finished with fine figures of 3-37.
“Sanju Samson played an unbelievable knock, (it) felt like everything he was hitting went for six,” Smith said.
“On this wicket, it was all about trying to avoid straight hits for the spinners. A couple of balls were fuller and got above the eyeline but the idea was to stay back of a length.”
In a robust second-wicket stand, Samson and Smith smashed 121 runs off 56 balls as Samson raised his half century off just 19 balls.
Leg-spinner Piyush Chawla went for 47 runs off his first two overs, but Chennai missed an opportunity to get Smith leg before wicket when he was on 31.
Television replays showed left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja's delivery would have hit the leg stump, but Dhoni didn't go for the referral.
Smith got another life soon after completing his half century when Curran parried the ball over the boundary line.
Samson was caught at deep cover in the 12th over and Smith fell in the penultimate over to give Curran (3-33) his third wicket.
Smith’s innings was a welcome one from an Australian perspective, with the star batsman missing the recent one-day series against England after suffering concussion at training.
Chennai could have restricted Rajasthan below the 200-run mark but Ngidi conceded 30 runs in the last over, which included Archer's two sixes off no-balls that eventually cost Chennai the game.
Chennai have two points from two games after they beat title-holder Mumbai Indians in their opening game.
Rajasthan opened their IPL campaign with a win despite missing their two key players - Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes.
Buttler has arrived in the United Arab Emirates but is completing his quarantine period while Stokes is with his ailing father in New Zealand.
On Wednesday, Kolkata Knight Riders will play their first IPL game when they take on Mumbai Indians at Abu Dhabi.