Chennai just cannot stay away from the top. A day after they lost the top spot to Delhi, CSK came back to regain it by beating Sunrisers Hyderabad in a home encounter. Chennai overhauled the highest chase this season at Chepauk to beat SRH by 6 wickets.
Winning the toss MS Dhoni opted to bowl first as has been the practice at Chennai because of the slowness of the surface. Harbhajan Singh removed dangerous Bairstow in the second over. Although David Warner hung on, CSK did not allow him to get off to a flier. However, Manish Pandey stepped up to increase the run rate. Harbhajan finally got Warner out in the 14th over. CSK were superb at death and did not allow Vijay Shankar score freely conceding just 41 in last 5 overs stopping SRH at 175.
175 was a par score at Chennai though. Chennai needed a solid start and someone in the top order to bat through. Shane Watson provided just that. Although CSK were slow to begin the chase, losing Faf du Plessis for 3 in the third over, they believed in their firepower. When Raina got out CSK were below the asking rate at 80 for 2 in 10 overs. Next 7 overs belonged to Watson who, along with Rayudu, scored 80 runs and put CSK on the brink of victory missing his century by just 4 runs. Kedar Jadhav completed the formalities for CSK chasing 9 in the last over.
Harbhajan Singh was the peak of the bowlers picking 2 for 39. Chahar also picked up one wicket conceding 30 in 4 overs. Except for Chahar, every other bowler went for more than 8 an over. Shane Watson did the bulk of the scoring with 96 off just 53 deliveries. It included 9 fours and 6 towering sixes. Suresh Raina helped with a quickfire 38 that helped CSK get on top of the rankings.
Sunrisers Hyderabad got the best surface of the season at Chennai. When they put 175 on board it looked par at that time. But CSK's resilience came to the fore again as Hyderabad’s inability to score at the death finally came back to haunt them despite a gutsy 83 by Manish Pandey.
Losing the toss batting first, SRH was slow at the beginning probably expecting the pitch to do the tricks as it has done throughout this season. However, this was a much better batting surface. Once Bairstow got out, Manish Pandey accelerated from the word go. David Warner played subdued innings at the other end. He got out after scoring yet another half-century but without much damage to scoring rate. While Pandey continued to score freely others just could not up scoring. Despite losing just 3 wickets SRH had to settle for 40 runs in last 5 overs probably 15 runs short in the hindsight.
In defense of 175, SRH began excellently with Bhuvaneshwar Kumar starting the proceedings with a maiden. Hooda ran du Plessis out in the third over. The pitch seemed to be doing the tricks it was expected to. But Raina started building slowly with Watson. SRH did contain them below the asking rate. But from over 10 to 17, Shane Watson took them apart. SRH tried their best to make a match of it by reducing it to 9 off the over. But CSK got over the line.
Manish Pandey top scored with 83 off 49 deliveries. David Warner was slow in his 57 off 45 deliveries. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar was the peak of the bowlers picking 1 wicket conceding just 18 in 4 overs. Sandeep Sharma and SRH’s prime bowler Rashid Khan went for 54 and 44, respectively costing SRH the match.
After regaining the top spot in the rankings CSK will play at home against Mumbai on 26th April 2019. With 16 points CSK have already qualified for playoffs whereas Mumbai, at third rank, is trying to climb the ladder. CSK would want to finish on top and they have a perfect chance against Mumbai at home where they have been unbeaten this whole IPL season.
Sunrisers Hyderabad has lost 5 and won 5 games this season. Another loss would make their position slightly tricky. The good thing is that they will be playing Rajasthan Royals, who are at the second last position in the ranking, away from home on 27th April 2019. Their prime opener, Jonny Bairstow, is going back home which in a way allows SRH to play Kane Williamson in the same XI.
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