IPL: CSK take top spot after close win over Sunrisers

SUMMARY: Chennai Super Kings 182-3 (Rayudu 79, Raina 54*) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 178-6 (Williamson 84, Yusuf 45, Chahar 3-15) by four runs.


Ambati Rayudu’s masterclass was nearly outdone by one from Kane Williamson, but Chennai Super Kings survived that attack from Sunrisers’ captain and then a Yusuf Pathan cameo to crawl to the top of the table. In a match where all the action happened at the back end of the two innings, the difference was only four runs.

The difference, perhaps, was that Super Kings had kept more wickets in hand up front than Sunrisers had. Seamer Deepak Chahar took three wickets inside the Powerplay as Sunrisers put up a poor response after being set 183 in the absence of the injured Shikhar Dhawan.

Rayudu uses experience to beat conditions

Super Kings found it hard after being put in. Afternoon games in Hyderabad have often brought out low-scoring games because the summer heat – the temperature was in the mid-30s today – dries the surface up.

Shane Watson, whose explosive batting had helped Super Kings put up 107-1 in the first ten overs against Rajasthan Royals on Friday, was kept quiet. At the other end, it didn’t appear part of the returning Faf du Plessis’ brief to take on the bowling.

With a struggling Suresh Raina at No. 3, Super Kings put up both the season’s lowest Powerplay score – 27-1 – and ten-over score – 54-2, almost half of what they’d got against Royals.

Rayudu approached it differently. Moments after walking in against Rashid Khan in the eighth over, he hit a mistimed sweep over midwicket. When Williamson brought Bhuvneshwar back for a third over to try and break the partnership in the 10th over, he picked his slower ball and nailed a slog sweep for six.

For most of his 112-run partnership with Raina, Rayudu looked like he had a plan for this kind of a surface. It was, after all, his home ground.

While Raina looked decidedly on the defensive, trying to walk around in the crease to drop balls on either side with soft hands, Rayudu first maneuvered the spinners around with use of the feet to get settled, and would then mess with the seamers’ lengths when he got boundaries at third man trying to slash them onto the leg side. In his last 16 balls Rayudu scored 48 runs, with six fours and three sixes.

Ambati Rayudu put CSK on top with a fine knock

The Rashid problem and the miscalculation

It was, however, a Raina blitz against Rashid that signalled the attack in the 12th over. The leg-spinner had been caned by Chris Gayle in his last match, often bowling flat and full to allow him cleans swings through the line.

When Raina slogged a loopy googly over midwicket in his second over, he quickly resorted to the same strategy despite finding success with flight earlier. He darted the next one full outside off and it ended up in the same place.

Rashid was forced into trying to rush through his next two overs. Eleven of his last 12 balls didn’t land fuller than short-of-a-length and he was hit for six off the only full one in that period to go for 28, and finish with figures of 4-0-49-1, days after going for 55 in four overs.

Stanlake and Shakib leaked runs simultaneously and a cheeky over from Deepak Hooda earlier meant Sunrisers didn’t bowl out Bhuvneshwar for the first time ever. They conceded 128 in the last ten overs.

The other Kane, the umpiring mistake

Chahar’s figures read 3-1 when Sunrisers were 22-3, and with Manish Pandey and Hooda gone, Williamson found himself at the forefront of a collapsing team that didn’t have both Dhawan and David Warner in the XI for the first time.

Like Super Kings in the overs immediately following the Powerplay, Sunrisers were watchful but for completely different reasons. Williamson and Shakib only occasionally went after boundaries during their 37-ball stand of 49 for the fourth wicket. The moment Shakib tried changing that, he fell to Karn Sharma.

Williamson didn’t have that problem when he went after the leg-spinner though. Shortly after lofting Jadeja over long-off, he proceeded to take 22 off Karn’s next over, with sixes through midwicket, square leg and long-off.

Yusuf Pathan, on nine off 12 at that point, took the cue and got two sixes off the Dwayne Bravo in the next over. Suddenly, the equation was 52 off 24, and Sunrisers were in the game.

Two balls later, though, came a moment that might have been the one that put them out. Williamson, deep in the crease against Shardul Thakur, tried to fend off a beamer that was clearly above waist height.

It wasn’t called a no-ball by square leg umpire Vineet Kulkarni. Yusuf hit the next ball for six, which may have still been the outcome if that ball was a free-hit. But the loss of that run and an extra ball was decisive.

Williamson fell to Bravo on 84 next over and Thakur had Yusuf caught off a slower ball. Despite a wild 17 off four from Rashid, Sunrisers fell short. (ESPNCricinfo)

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