Sunrisers Hyderabad started the game desperately looking for a win after losing three games in a row out of which two came in their home ground. For a team that has played with utmost consistency over the last three seasons, they found themselves in an uncharted territory and turning up versus a champion side like Chennai did not seem to help them.
But the Sunrisers brought their A game to the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium ensuring they make full use of a Chennai side that were playing without MS Dhoni for the first time since 2010.
Chennai also broke the norm by winning the toss and electing to bat first. It looked like a pretty good decision when Watson and du Plessis started decently on a typically dead Hyderabad track that had shown promise in the early stages of the season.
Faf was the aggressor, Watson was scratchy but more importantly, it was only the second time this season when Chennai did not lose a wicket in the powerplays. However, once both of them got out in a space of 4 balls, Chennai, just like the Hyderabad track lost the life in their innings.
The wickets kept falling and after an opening stand of 79 runs, the visitors found themselves in a muddle at 101/5. Ambati Rayudu and Ravindra Jadeja stitched together a much needed partnership but an unbeaten knock of 10 runs off 20 balls from the latter meant the acceleration was still missing. In the end, the man in yellow ended up with a paltry 132 on the board - a below-par total even by the standards of a lacklustre batting track.
It was now up to the Hyderabad openers and David Warner decided to kill run-chase within the powerplays. Taking the seamers on, Warner completed his fifty off only 24 balls. It seemed like Warner and Bairstow had exchanged roles from the last few games as the Englishman took the backseat and let the southpaw do the scoring.
By the end of the 6-over mark, Hyderabad were done with half of their run-chase. After Warner and Williamson’s departure, Bairstow shielded the under-performing middle-order by batting through the chase. Chennai tried to get back into the game but his steady approach in the second half of his innings kept the visitors at bay.
For Hyderabad, Rashid Khan’s impactful performance with the ball was the biggest positive. Rashid, who was unable to penetrate into the opposition’s batting line-up in the last few games, struck twice at important junctures removing Suresh Raina and Kedar Jadhav in quick succession. A spell with figures reading 4-0-17-2 played a pivotal part in derailing Chennai’s innings.
In the end, Bairstow finished the run-chase with a six over long-on that was a hallmark of Hyderabad’s supremacy over Chennai Super Kings which looked ordinary without their regular skipper, MS Dhoni.
Chennai Super Kings will rue losing Faf du Plessis in the 11th over the innings. Given he was well set, his dismissal witnessed a drop of 12% in their chances of victory, a point where both sides held an equal 50-50 chances of a win in the game.
Warner’s onslaught in the initial overs of Hyderabad’s innings further escalated the home side’s chances of victory to 93%.
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