Following the fifties scored by Ambati Rayudu and Suresh Raina, pacer Deepak Chahar claimed three wickets as Chennai Super Kings (CSK) defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) by four runs to seal the nail-biting IPL match at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad, on Sunday. (SCORECARD)
Dwayne Bravo consistently bowled in the blockhole in a tense finish as CSK prevailed over a weakened Hyderabad to consolidate their position at the top.
Invited to bat after the coin landed in favour of Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper Kane Williamson, CSK were well served by Rayudu's smashing knock of 79 off only 37 balls and Raina's brisk 43-ball 54.
The visiting team then stopped the hosts at 178 for six, with medium pacer Deepak Chahar doing the bulk of damage.
Needing 33 runs in the last two overs, Yusuf Pathan and Rashid Khan blasted a six each off Shardul Thakur in the penultimate over.
Given the responsibility of bowling the final over with SRH requiring 19 runs, the composed Dwayne Bravo was hit for six and a four by Rashid to bring the equation to six off one.
Bravo managed to get it on the block hole and Rashid could only manage a single.
It is the first time in five seasons that SRH went into a game without the duo of Shikhar Dhawan and David Warner.
Earlier, the 25-year-old Chahar returned very impressive figures of three for 15 in four overs, his victims comprising Ricky Bhui, Manish Pandey and Deepak Hooda.
For the home team, Williamson top-scored with 84 off 51 balls, but the effort was not enough to give his team victory.
Williamson found an able ally in Yusuf (45 off 27 balls) as they raised hopes of an SRH victory with a brisk 79-run stand for the fourth wicket.
Requiring more than 12 runs in the last four overs, Yusuf blasted Bravo and Shardul Thakur for four sixes after Williamson picked spinner Karn Sharma for three maximums in the 15th over.
Batting first, the duo of Rayudu and Raina added 112 runs for the third wicket as SRH struggled for breakthroughs at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium after sending back last-match centurion Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis.
While Rayudu hit four sixes and nine boundaries, the more experienced Raina found the fence five times and cleared it twice.
Dhoni then blazed his way to a 12-ball 25, hitting three boundaries and a six, as the two-time champions crossed 180.
CSK were off to a slow start as they could manage just 27 runs in the mandatory powerplay overs and reached 50 in the 10th over. However, they switched gears after that and were past the 100-run mark by end of 14th over, even as Rayudu brought up his half century in 27 balls.
The century partnership needed 51 balls as CSK looked at setting a challenging target.
Dhoni kept up the tempo and hit a few useful boundaries to help his team's cause.
The leading bowler in T20 Internationals, Rashid again went for runs, conceding 50 in his quota of four overs, while Billy Stanlake gave away 38 in his four.
SRH's start was worse than their opponents as they lost three wickets in the six powerplay overs -- all of them falling prey to Chahar.
From 22 for three, SRH moved to 71 in the 11th over when Shakib Al Hasan (24) was dismissed by spinner Karn Sharma.
Williamson, however, was not going to go down without a fight as the talismanic New Zealander conjured another half century partnership with Yusuf.
Williamson's knock contained five sixes and as many boundaries and had it not been for SRH's horrid start, he and Yusuf may have helped them cross the line.
With the required run rate heading north with each passing ball, Williamson went for a big shot against Dwayne Bravo and holed out in the deep, thanks to Ravindra Jadeja's brilliant diving effort.
Yusuf, too, got out while going for a maximum and it was almost all over for the franchise.
(With PTI inputs)