MUMBAI: Moeen Ali blazed away in the powerplay but slowed down considerably thereafter as Chennai Super Kings struggled to 150 for 6 against Rajasthan Royals in their Indian Premier League match on Friday.
Batting first after his skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss, Moeen smashed his way to a 19-ball 50, and was 59 off 24 at the end of the first six power play overs, with CSK racing away to 75 for the loss of one wicket.
In all, Moeen made 93 off 57 balls with 13 fours and three sixes.
However, after being at the receiving end of Moeen's brutal onslaught during which the England all-rounder made a bowler of Trent Boult's calibre look like an uncapped player by bludgeoning him for 26 runs in an over, the RR bowling unit made a fine comeback.
There was a phase in the innings when CSK failed to find a boundary for 45 balls, before Dhoni (26) roared back to pull Yuzvendra Chahal (2/26) over deep square leg.
As far as Moeen was concerned, he was kept by the RR bowlers for a longer time. After he hit Chahal's flighted delivery through cover for a four in the fourth ball of the seventh over, Moeen found his next four three balls into the 17th over, the bowler being Obed McCoy (2/20), at the Wankhede Stadium.
Dhoni smoked Prasidh Krishna for a six over deep midwicket in the beginning of the next over, but the seamer came back strongly in the remaining five balls.
To start with, CSK were 3 for one after two overs but Devon Conway and Moeen broke loose after that, scoring 12 and 18 runs in the next two overs and get the yellow brigade's innings up and running.
Moeen was getting the big shots going with consummate ease, even as Conway looked on from the other end. Moeen reached his half century with an upper cut over the third man boundary off Boult.
That over -- the last before power play ended -- saw Moeen go hard at Boult, hitting the seasoned New Zealand pacer for a six and five boundaries.
Before that, Prasidh conceded 18 runs in an over which forced Sanju Samson to introduce the experienced Ravichandran Ashwin (1/28) into the attack, but he too was struck for 16 runs by Moeen.