The Report by Liam Brickhill
(ESPNCricinfo) Sunrisers Hyderabad broke Chennai Super Kings’ winning streak, and secured a vital victory after three losses on the trot, with a six-wicket win at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium. Super Kings were without their talismanic captain MS Dhoni, who was rested after pulling up with back spasms in their last game. And aside from a 79-run opening stand between Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis, their innings lacked oomph. Despite the slowness of the track, their 132 for 5 was sub-par and after David Warner’s rapid fifty had set the innings up, Jonny Bairstow closed the match with an unbeaten 61.
With stand-in captain Suresh Raina having opted to bat, halfway through their innings Chennai would have been pleased with their progress at 80 for 1. But just 52 runs came from the next ten as the innings fizzled out. The much-hyped showdown between Vijay Shankar and Ambati Rayudu came to nought, but in truth Super Kings could have done with a little more fire in the belly at the death.
Indeed, Warner’s response at the top of Sunrisers’ chase showed that there were quick runs to be made despite the slowness of the pitch. Warner dominated the Powerplay and left Sunrisers’ brittle middle order with a very easy job to complete. Bairstow ensured there were no slip-ups, and a struggling Sunrisers unit took down the table-toppers with 19 balls and six wickets to spare.
Watson, du Plessis lay platform
With three single figure scores and a duck in his last five innings before Wednesday, Watson came into this match without much form to speak of. Neither Watson nor du Plessis looked in particularly world-beating touch when the openers crawled to just 15 from the first four overs. The pressure was on, and a wicket at that stage could have been disastrous, but the experienced pair shrugged it off with five fours and three sixes in the next five-and-a-half overs to set the innings up.
Rashid finds his length (eventually)
Rashid Khan’s mid-match comeback mirrored his team’s. One sensed a big moment when he was introduced in the eighth over with both openers set, but his first ball was a half tracker that was spanked to the square-leg boundary and Rashid leaked 14 from his first two overs as he struggled to find his length and repeatedly dropped short. His third changed the complexion of the match. With du Plessis and Watson having fallen in quick succession of each other either side of the halfway mark, Rashid finally got things right in his third over, nipping out Suresh Raina and Kedar Jadhav in the space of four deliveries – both batsmen unsuccessfully reviewing their dismissals – as Super Kings slipped to 99 for 4.
Bhuvneshwar keeps it tight
Super Kings might still have made a fist of things at the death from that position, and they may well have been looking to target Bhuvneshwar Kumar in that regard. He had an economy rate of 12.6 between overs 16 to 20 heading into this game, and was seen practicing various versions of the cutter with head coach Tom Moody on the eve of this match. The extra work clearly paid off, and Kumar gave away just 15 runs in his last two overs – and just five off the final over of the innings – to stall Super Kings’ charge. Rayudu managed to get a couple away, but Ravindra Jadeja’s innings completely failed to launch as he finished with 10 not out from 20 balls.