“I take full responsibility for the way I batted. I batted slow and hit the fielders.”
This is how David Warner rated his laborious knock of 57 runs from 55 balls, after a seven wicket loss to Chennai Super Kings in Match 23 of IPL 2021. Manish Pandey, who scored 61 off 46 balls in a 106-run stand with Warner, suggested that they might be 10 runs short of a good score. The way Chennai chased it, it appeared as if Hyderabad were at least 20 short.
A lingering 106-run stand
Eager for a good start, Hyderabad lost Jonny Bairstow, the only aggressor in their line-up thus far, for 7. Pandey, returning to the side after a two-match snub and Warner, desperate to get amongst runs, inadvertently dragged the innings into the sleep mode until the 10th over when Pandey struck Moeen Ali for a six, the first of the innings.
On a good batting wicket, the first 50 runs of their partnership came in 43 balls. Post the halfway mark in the innings, Pandey was still able to get the occasional boundary but Warner’s knock was painful to watch. He tried way too many shots to be batting at only 39 off 44 balls by the end of the 14th over.
When MS Dhoni brought Ravindra Jadeja to the attack in the 12th over, Warner saw it as an opportunity to exploit the match-up in his favor but was hardly able to hit the left-arm spinner outside the 30-yard circle. Off Jadeja’s first five balls, Warner could manage only 4 runs. There was a moment when Warner yelled out loud after miscuing a delivery from Jadeja which was a testimony to his frustration. A few balls later, he missed a chance to hook a short delivery from Lungi Ngidi over fine leg despite getting in good position to execute the stroke.
Warner finally reached his fifty off 50 balls, the second slowest half-century by a SRH batsman, after hitting two sixes. In the process, he also completed 10,000 T20 runs, becoming the fourth player to reach the milestone.
Pandey, at the other end, reached his fifty from 35 balls - a more fluent knock but with Hyderabad tasked to set the target, it had more scope.
Both of them fell in the 18th over, putting themselves in a desperate need for the big hits. Warner found Jadeja in the deep to a full and wide delivery by Ngidi. Towards the end of the same over, Faf du Plessis came in between what was supposed to be a flat six for Pandey. The 106-run stand between Pandey and Warner had the magnitude but it lacked impact.
In the previous match, Kane Williamson weathered the storm to see Hyderabad through for a tie. Tonight, he showcased his skills are not limited to that. It was his cameo (26* from 10 balls) that elevated Hyderabad to 171.
Williamson displayed his ability to manipulate the field, scoring 19 runs of the 19th over from Shardul Thakur. He timed Thakur over covers for a six, twice on the leg-side for four and then over third-man, showing his class. Kedar Jadhav added fuel to the fire, scoring 10 runs off the last two balls. Hyderabad scored 33 runs off the last two over to reach the par score on the track.
The boundary galore by du Plessis and Gaikwad
Chennai had not lost a wicket in the Powerplay in the last two games and tonight, du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad were at it once again. In fact, they stretched their opening stand to 129. Unlike Pandey and Warner’s partnership, this opening duo laid enough impact to bring Hyderabad’s chances down to 4 percent according to Criclytics Win Projector.
The duo followed the tried-and-tested template. Du Plessis took the attack to the Hyderabad pacers while Gaikwad took his time. By the end of the six-over mark, du Plessis was batting at 32 off 19, while Gaikwad was at 17 off as many balls.
Once the spinners came on, Gaikwad feasted on them and caught up with du Plessis in the blink of an eye. Gaikwad scored 54 runs off 24 balls against the spinners, collecting 10 fours all around the park. Jagadeesha Suchith was carted for 45 runs in his three overs.
The way du Plessis and Gaikwad batted, it was evident that Hyderabad didn’t put enough runs on the board. There was no help for the bowlers, be it spin or pace.
Even Rashid Khan struggled, conceding 25 runs off his first 17 balls, before finally dismissing Gaikwad, for 75 off 44 balls. Next over, he added Moeen Ali and du Plessis to his kitty to give Hyderabad some hope but it was too little too late.
With a pace attack bereft of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and T Natarajan, it was always a mountain to climb as Suresh Raina and Jadeja took Chennai home with nine balls to spare.
The defeat means Hyderabad stays at the last spot in the points table while Chennai go to the top, back to the same setting as it was prior to Match 22.