Moeen Ali stars for Chennai in Dhoni's 200th game as captain
MUMBAI – Moeen Ali starred with bat and ball in MS Dhoni's 200th game as captain of Chennai Super Kings who thrashed Rajasthan Royals by 45 runs in the Indian Premier League on Monday.
The England all rounder scored a 20-ball 26 in Chennai's 188 for nine and then claimed three wickets to restrict Rajasthan to 143-9 in Mumbai.
Moeen, who was bought for $950,000 in February's auction, returned figures of 3-7 from his three overs of off spin.
It was Chennai's second successive win of this season of the Twenty20 tournament after they lost their first game.
"It is important to have that sixth bowler," Dhoni, who completed another landmark after his 200th appearance for the three-time IPL winners in their previous win, said of his wrecker-in-chief.
"It was good to have him. It (the pitch) was turning a bit and stopping a bit."
Coming in to bat at number three, Moeen took the attack to the opposition bowlers as he hit two sixes and a boundary.
"My job here is to try and score as many runs for the team and get a good start," said man of the match Moeen.
On his bowling part for Chennai, Moeen said, "I have a rough idea (when Dhoni is going to give me the ball). Once the left-hander came in, I thought I'd be bowling. I'm always ready."
Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja also played a key role with his two wickets in one over including opener Jos Buttler for 49. He also took four catches.
England's Sam Curran returned impressive figures of 2-24 with his left-arm pace.
But it was Moeen's crucial strikes off David Miller, for two, and then two in three balls including Chris Morris, for nought, that flattened Rajasthan's chase.
The Sanju Samson-led Rajasthan, champions in the inaugural season in 2008, collapsed from 87-2 to 95-7.
"Congratulations on winning on your 200th game as @ChennaiIPL captain," Rajasthan said of the legendary wicketkeeper-batsman on their official Twitter page.
Put into bat first, South Africa's Faf du Plessis top-scored with 33 before a late-order blitz by Dwayne Bravo, who smashed 20 off eight balls, boosted Chennai's total.
Ambati Rayudu, hitting 27 off 17 balls, and Suresh Raina, who made 18, contributed with a 45-run fourth-wicket partnership between them.
Delhi Capitals take on champions Mumbai Indians in Chennai on Tuesday.