Sunrisers Hyderabad started off badly by losing Jonny Bairstow (0) but David Warner (57) and Manish Pandey (83*), along with a cameo from Vijay Shankar (26), ensured that SRH reached a solid total of 175. Even though Chennai Super Kings had a slow start, Shane Watson's 96 won the match for CSK.
Chennai Super Kings were unbeaten at home this season and the spin-friendly Chepauk surface gave them more joy than anything else. However, with their top-order struggling to get going, they prepared a rather batting-friendly surface. Sunrisers Hyderabad, who returned to winning ways by beating CSK in their home encounter, had a lot to play for and this made them smile, notwithstanding the 4-0 drubbing they faced at the hands of the eventual champions of 2018.
Despite Chepauk throwing a batting-friendly wicket, MS Dhoni hardly made any changes to his approach and brought in Harbhajan up front to get him a wicket. The off-spinner repaid the faith and extracted an edge off the Englishman’s blade for a duck to ensure that his last innings this IPL ended in a very unfortunate manner. However, Manish Pandey and David Warner ensured that there was no respite as the visitors moved to 54/1 in the first powerplay.
Introduction of Imran Tahir and Ravindra Jadeja hardly helped CSK’s cause as the duo exploited both sides of the surface as the spinners were operating with a singular strategy. Warner suddenly became the most fluent of the duo by playing on the on-side and by the end of the 10th over, he closed on to the half-century with the team scoring 91/1 in 10 overs.
Manish Pandey was also having a dream run at the other end and instead of starting slowly, which often characterizes his batting, he was striking the ball well. He targeted the spinners and once he started trusting his game a bit, shots came out of everywhere as the Karnataka batsman scored his first IPL fifty this season in the 11th over.
After that, however, Warner was suddenly dismissed by Harbhajan Singh, who outfoxed the Aussie with some solid help from MS Dhoni behind the stumps. It was a classic MS dismissal, which played a part in CSK’s dismissal for despite Vijay Shankar’s pyrotechnics, the visitors could score a total of 175 runs - a par total considering the batting-friendly conditions of Chepauk.
It was always going to be a difficult run-chase for Chennai, but for the team to have any sort of impact in the game, the hosts needed their openers to give them a good start. However, the duo of Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis couldn’t get off the blocks in the first couple of overs and ended up scoring only 2 runs. A wicket was always around the corner and that came in the form of a run-out as du Plessis had to return back when CSK were on 3. It was a real precarious situation.
Suresh Raina, however, released the pressure big-time as he hit Sandeep Sharma for 22 runs in one over and seeing the authoritative stroke-play, Watson also started getting into the mood against his favourite opponent. With each shot that Raina played, CSK crowds cheered for him at the top of their voice as the team reached 80-2 in 10 overs.
By then, Watson had switched on his beast mode and targeted Sandeep Sharma and Rashid Khan to milk as many runs as possible. With each run, Chennai’s happiness grew as Surnisers bowlers didn’t show any fighting spirit. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the only bowler who was delivering with expected spirits and by the time Watson was back in the hut, CSK were comfortably placed to win the game.
Once Watson and Ambati Rayudu were dismissed, the game was still CSK’s to lose, but the last over bug threatened to derail their spirits. Kedar Jadhav, gave a massive scare, as he almost ran himself out on the ante-penultimate ball of the last over. However, Sandeep Sharma messed up in collecting the ball and eventually that resulted in CSK winning with one ball to spare.
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