Rajasthan Royals defeated Chennai Super Kings by 16 runs to start their Indian Premier League campaign on a positive note.
After scoring 216/7 while batting first, thanks to brilliant half-centuries from Sanju Samson and skipper Steve Smith, the Royals restricted Chennai to 200/6 as Faf du Plessis (72 off 37) got his second half-century in as many innings.
The match at Sharjah saw a staggering 33 sixes hit in total, with is the joint-highest for a single match in the history of the T20 tournament.
CSK, who defeated defending champions Mumbai Indians in the opener, needed to get going from the start of their chase but they were pegged back by Rahul Tewatia.
The leg-spinner picked the wickets of Shane Watson, Sam Curran and Ruturaj Gaikwad to put the Royals on top.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni turned back the clock and hit three consecutive sixes in the last over but it was too little, too late as Rajasthan Royals got the win comfortably.
Earlier, Samson and Smith smashed quickfire half-centuries to guide Rajasthan Royals to a formidable total.
Sent in to bat, Rajasthan lost young opener Yashasvi Jaiswal (6) in the third over but then Samson joined hands with Smith as the duo played sensibly before the Kerala wicketkeeper-batsman went hammer and tongs.
Samson (74 off 32) looked in great nick, while Smith, returning to competitive cricket after recovering from concussion suffered during the ODI series against England, made 67 off 49 balls to lay the base for Rajasthan’s total.
In the final over, Jofra Archer (27 off 8 balls) hit four sixes off Lungi Ngidi as the Royals got 30 runs to take the score past 215.
In all, Royals hit 17 sixes with Samson accounting for nine of them. Smith and Archer had four each to their name.
While Smith played the second fiddle initially, Samson took the CSK spin duo of Ravindra Jadeja and Piyush Chawla to task, taking 95 runs of eight overs collectively.
Introduced into the attack in the seventh over, Jadeja was clobbered for consecutive sixes by Samson before Chawla went for four sixes in his first over – three by Samson and one by Smith.
Samson, thus, brought up his quickest IPL fifty in just 19 balls with the help of one boundary and six hits over the fence.
If that was not enough for Chawla, the leg-spinner again leaked runs in his next over as both Samson and Smith took him to the cleaners.
CSK made a much-needed comeback in the match in the 12th over with twin blows in the form of Samson and David Miller.
Samson fell in search of one too many sixes, caught by Deepak Chahar off Lungi Ngidi, while Miller departed two balls later in search of a non-existent double.
CSK made another small comeback in the 17th over when Sam Curran dismissed Rahul Tewatia and Riyan Parag before Smith departed in the 19th over while trying to up the ante.
(With inputs from PTI)