Chennai Super Kings have left their IPL 2020 woes behind with a momentous 20–run victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad in Dubai on Tuesday.
The victory came after CSK bowlers, led by Karn Sharma’s inspiring 2/37, helped the side pick key wickets at crucial junctures of the game to restrict SRH at 147/6 after Ambati Rayudu (41 runs off 34 balls) and Shane Watson (42 off 37) took side to 167/8 in the first innings. MS Dhoni (21 off 12) and Ravindra Jadeja (25 off 10) also played their role in setting the total.
But it was CSK bowlers who did the hard work of defending an on-par total.
Chasing 168, SRH were in grave danger from the word go with opener David Warner (9 off 12) and Manish Pandey (4 off 3) were back to pavilion inside the powerplay at 27/2.
Both the wicket fell in the fourth over with Sam Curran caught and bowling Warner first. Pandey was then run out in his attempt to take a quick single by Dwayno Bravo.
Bairstow, along with Kane Williamson, tried to bring SRH back in the game with a slow 35-ball 32 partnership. The lanky English opener, however, couldn’t convert his start into a big innings after getting clean bowled by Jadaja after scoring 24 off 23.
This was followed by another partnership of 40 runs between newly-in Priyam Garg and Williamson off 29 deliveries but Garg (16 off 18) was sent back to the dugout at a crucial stage by Karn Sharma as SRH were still left to chase down 70 off the last five overs.
Williamson tried bring the pace to the innings and soon crossed his half century, laced with seven boundaries. But Karn subdued the New Zealander in the 18th over for 57, just after Bravo removed Vijay Shankar (12 off 7); leaving SRH with the challenging task score 43 of last two overs while four wickets in hand.
Remaining SRH batsmen were never up to the task to chase it down.
Earlier batting first, CSK skipper sprung a surprise by sending in English left-hander Sam Curran to open with Faf du Plessis; aiming to garner some quick runs in the powerplay.
That didn’t save the yellow-clad outfit from early blow with pacer Sandeep Sharma removing Faf for a golden duck at the beginning of the second over. This was the South African’s first nought in the tournament since 2014.
Veteran Aussie batsman Shane Watson came in at second and saw Curran hit Khaleel Ahmed for 22 runs in an over to bring pace to CK innings. However the cameo came to end in the very next over with Sandeep clean bowling the southpaw (31 off 21) with scoreboard reading 35/2.
Following the dismissal, Watson, joined in by Ambati Rayudu, fended off the early pressure and slowly started seeping runs off SRH bowlers. Playing sensible cricket, the duo built a 64–ball 81 stand, hitting four boundaries and five maximums, to put CSK in strong position for a big total.
Watson (42 off 38) and Rayudu (41 off 34) couldn’t finish off the job on the day with both felling in back-to-back overs with CSK suddenly in trouble at 120/4 in the 17th over.
Freshly-in Dhoni (21 off 13) and Ravindra Jadeja (25* off 10) ensured CSK put on a challenging total of 167/6 on a sluggish turf.
Sandeep, Khaleel and Natarajan were the pick among SRH bowlers with two wickets apiece