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The Chennai Super Kings took a step closer to the VIVO IPL 2018 Playoffs after they defeated the table toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad by 8 wickets in Pune on Sunday evening. After opting to bowl, the CSK bowlers called the shots early on but lost grip on proceedings once the ball stopped swinging and allowed SRH to get to 179-4. The run-chase turned into a formality after Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu stitched together a 134-run opening partnership. Watson was dismissed in the 14th over, but Rayudu carried on, scored his maiden T20 hundred, and took CSK home. The hosts got home with one full over to spare. With this win, CSK take their tally of points to 16 and are more or less sure of a playoff berth.

In the evening, the CSK bowlers exploited the swing that was available because of the heavy atmospheric conditions and kept the visitors quiet early on. Shikhar Dhawan, and one drop batsman Kane Williamson, batted cautiously and saw through the difficult period, before cutting loose. Both batsmen struck the ball well, helped themselves to half-centuries, and stitched together a 123-run partnership – their second century stand in two innings.

Dhawan was the first to reach his half-century; he got to the milestone in 38 balls, and carried on to make 79 (49 balls, 10 fours, 3 sixes). Williamson struck five boundaries and two sixes in his fifty, getting to the milestone in the sixteenth over. Unfortunately for the Sunrisers, both batsmen were dismissed off consecutive deliveries; Dhawan’s cheeky scoop off Dwayne Bravo found Harbhajan Singh at short fine-leg, and Williamson’s aerial glide off Shardul Thakur was pouched by Bravo, running to his left from wide third man.

The SRH innings was of three parts; they were 51-1 after 9 overs, added 90 runs in the next seven overs, and further added 38 runs in the last four overs. Shardul Thakur would be the most successful bowler in the match; the CSK pacer returned figures of 2-32.

Standout batting performance

When the CSK openers walked out to bat, there was no assistance in the pitch whatsoever. Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu took toll of the short-pitched bowling strategy employed by the Sunrisers. The SRH bowlers repeatedly kept banging the ball in short, and the CSK openers were happy to keep picking them for boundaries. It was Watson who set the early pace, racing to 34 off 20 balls by the time the field restrictions were relaxed. Rayudu caught up, collecting two boundaries and a six off Siddarth Kaul in the seventh over. Both batsmen continued to find the boundaries without too much difficulty and matched each other stroke for stroke.

Watson was the first to reach his fifty, getting there off 31 balls. Rayudu brought up his fifty in style, mowing a Kaul delivery over midwicket. The pair extended their association to 134, when Watson, who was fielder-watching and reacted late to Rayudu’s call for a single, was run out. The Australian made 57 from 35 balls, his innings containing 5 fours and 3 sixes.

Rayudu, who at one stage earlier in the innings was 19 from 16 balls, motored on and brought up his century off 62 balls. He hit seven fours and as many sixes, and also stitched together an unbeaten 43-run partnership with captain MS Dhoni (20* from 14 balls) that sealed the deal.

Standout bowling performance

In the evening, MS Dhoni bowled out Deepak Chahar, who got the ball to swing, in the first eight overs. Chahar, returning to the CSK line-up after recovering from injury, started brilliantly, conceding just one run off the first over of the match. The CSK captain then switched his ends, giving him the chance to use the breeze to his advantage. Chahar dismissed the SRH opener Alex Hales in his second over, and bowled out his four overs for returns of 1-16. The lanky pacer only conceded one boundary and bowled a total of 14 dot balls in his spell.

Rashid Khan was the stand out bowler for Sunrisers. The leg-spinner was brought on early on in an attempt to provide the early breakthrough, but the CSK openers played him out. Rashid bowled four one-over spells; he bowled the 5th, 9th, 12th and 17th, and finished with respectable figures of 0-25.

Stat of the Match

The partnership between Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu would be the best opening partnership against Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL.

This was the Sunrisers’ first loss batting first in VIVO IPL 2018; prior to this match, they had batted first on four occasions and had successfully defended targets on all four occasions.

Brief Scores:

Sunrisers Hyderabad 179-4 (Shikhar Dhawan 79, Kane Williamson 51, Shardul Thakur 2-32) lost to

Chennai Super Kings 180-2 in 19.0 Overs (Shane Watson 67, Ambati Rayudu 100*)by 8 wickets.

Man of the Match:

Ambati Rayudu, for his match-winning 100 not out.



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