By Suhas Nayse – SJFI Member
Chennai Super Kings registered a much-needed victory to keep their hopes alive in the Dream11 Indian Premier League at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Tuesday. With four points from seven matches of the first leg, CSK wanted to arrest the slide and begin the return leg on a promising note. They downed Sunrisers Hyderabad by 20 runs to record their third win.
It was a sweet revenge for the three-time champions as they had lost to SRH by seven runs in the first leg at the same venue, eleven days earlier.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his team can heave a big sigh of relief as they moved up slightly to the sixth place with six points from eight matches to stay in contention for a place in the play-offs. Champions in 2016, SRH were at the fifth spot after their second straight defeat with six points from eight games.
Chasing a competitive target of 168, SRH lost their way in the later overs after a positive start. CSK bowlers bowled well to check the flow of runs. Wickets at regular intervals added enormous pressure on Hyderabad batsmen. They were finally restricted to 147 for 8.
Dhoni used his bowlers quite well. He utilised the pacers early in the innings and later he completed most of the overs through spinners. His ploy to use seven bowlers proved correct. Barring Deepak Chahar and Karn Sharma no bowlers finished their quota of four overs.
Kane Williamson waged a lone battle with a fighting 57 (39b). The New Zealand skipper struck seven brilliant fours. However, pressure got to him as he holed out to Shardul Thakur at deep mid-wicket region off Karn Sharma. The final over from Dwayne Bravo resulted in only two runs, leaving SRH short by 20 runs. Bravo and Sharma claimed two wickets each, while Shardul Thakur, Sam Curran and Jadeja chipped in with a wicket apiece. For his all-round show, Jadeja was adjudged man-of-the-match.
Earlier, the move to promote Sam Curran as opener clicked as Chennai Super Kings posted a challenging total of 167 for 6. Curran, the bowling all-rounder, was sent in as a pinch-hitter and he slammed a quick-fire 31 (21b) to provide Chennai Super Kings a rapid start. Ambati Rayudu and Watson, who played at the No. 3 spot, consolidated the innings. The experienced batsmen added 81 runs for the third wicket.
Rayudu (41: 34 balls, 3×4, 2×6) looked good for another half-century but fell soon. Watson followed him after making 42 (38b). The veteran hit three big sixes. MS Dhoni, who opted to bat after winning the toss, displayed the glimpses of his old magic by playing a little cameo of 21 runs in 13 balls. The skipper, who is under tremendous pressure to perform with the bat, bludgeoned an awesome 102-metre long six to long-on but perished next ball while trying to execute one more against Natarajan. The ball hit the bottom of the bat and lobbed to mid-off fielder Kane Williamson.
Ravindra Jadeja remained unbeaten on a brisk 25 (10b). The ace all-rounder walloped three fours and a six. In the last five overs, CSK scored 51 for the loss of four wickets. All the three medium-pacers Sandeep Sharma, T Natarajan and Khaleel Ahmed bagged a couple of wickets each.
On Wednesday, Delhi Capitals will clash with Rajasthan Royals at the same ground.
Brief scores: Chennai Super Kings 167 for 6 in 20 overs (Shane Watson 42, Ambati Rayudu 41, Sam Curran 31, Ravindra Jadeja 25 not out, MS Dhoni 21; Sandeep Sharma 2-19, T Natarajan 2-41, Khaleel Ahmed 2-45) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 147 for 8 in 20 overs (Kane Williamson 57, Jonny Bairstow 23, Priyam Garg 16, Rashid Khan 14, Vijay Shankar 12, David Warner 9; Dwayne Bravo 2-25, Karn Sharma 2-37, Shardul Thakur 1-10, Sam Curran 1-18, Ravindra Jadeja 1-21) by 20 runs. Man-of-the-match: Ravindra Jadeja (CSK).