Hyderabad: Suresh Raina on Wednesday reminded everyone yet again how clean a striker he is of the cricket ball as he smashed an unbeaten 99 off just 52 balls to hand Sunrisers Hyderbad their first loss (77 runs) at home, ensuring Chennai Super Kings a place in the play-offs.
Had Raina got one more run, he would have equalled David Warner's record of scoring two centuries in a single edition of the IPL. His unbeaten 99 against Hyderabad on Wednesday came after his innings of 100 not out against Kings XI Punjab a few matches back. He sent the ball to the fence eleven times, while deposited it over the fence on three occasions.
Raina carried on the momentum given by Murali Vijay early in the innings. Vijay although scored only 29, he gave the impetus to the Chennai innings with three sixes and two fours off 20 balls. If Raina was the chief destroyer, Mike Hussey was the accumulator for CSK.
Hussey made 67 off 42, his fifth half-century in IPL 6, and was leading Raina by a fair margin till the 26-year-old overtook him with one over from Ishant Sharma. The 17th over, bowled by Ishant, of the CSK innings went for 25 runs. He bowled length deliveries and Raina carted them over extra cover with relative ease.
Ishant would want to forget the outing as a nightmare. His 0 for 66 in four overs was the worst figures by any bowler in the history of the IPL, eclipsing the joint record held by Ashok Dinda and Varun Aaron (0 for 63 in 4 overs).
Dale Steyn's figure of 0 for 17 should be applauded after seeing the treatment meted out to the other Hyderabad bowlers - Ishant (0 for 66 in four overs), Thisara Perera (3 for 45 in four), Amit Mishra (0 for 41 in four) and Darren Sammy (0 for 33 in two) - by the CSK batsmen.
Chasing the massive 224 was always going to be a difficult task for Hyderabad and some of their batsmen made it even easier for CSK by falling down one after another. None but Parthiv Patel could post a respectable score.
The wicketkeeper batsman, with six fours and one six, was aggressive from the outset but he didn't get the support from the other Hyderabad batsmen. Karan Sharma (39* off 33) and Perera (23 off 13) used the long handle but their little cameos were too short to make any impact.
Mohit Sharma, the 24-year-old pacer, was once again effective with the ball, picking up 2 for 28 in his quota of overs.