Ambati Rayudu finally registered a hundred after playing some quality knocks right through the season, eclipsing his previous best score of 82 against Royal Challengers Bangalore on April 25 in Bengaluru. He almost had Dhoni robbing him the milestone, before the skipper took a single with the team needing 2 and Rayudu needing a single to reach the three-figure mark. Brought into the India team for the ODI series against England, Rayudu extended his celebration as CSK are now almost through to the knockouts barring a mathematical scenario where they lose the remaining games and others win handsomely.
Chasing 180 on a wicket which looked dicey during the SRH innings, Shane Watson and Rayudu started with panache. Not dropping a sweat, they kept taking the Hyderabad bowling — considered the best in the tournament — apart and sent them into the stands at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune. When SRH finally picked their first wicket, Watson (57) run out trying to snatch a quick single, the score read 134/1 in the 14th over with Chennai needing only 46 more to win off 39 balls.
Suresh Raina was dismissed for just 2 as Kane Williamson picked a smart catch off Sandeep Sharma’s bowling, but that didn’t mean much as CSK now needed 43 off 35 balls with 8 wickets still in the bag. MS Dhoni was the next man in amid huge cheers from the Chennai fans in Pune.
Things went from bad to worse for SRH when they dropped Dhoni on 2, by Manish Pandey at long-on. After that, it was nothing but a walk in the park for Chennai as Rayudu showed his class to finish things off in a rush. In the end, Rayudu was unbeaten on 100 as Chennai went home with 6 balls to spare.
Earlier, Dhoni won the toss and decided to bowl first and Deepak Chahar started impressively as he got the ball to swing quite a bit on a hot summer afternoon. In fact, with Alex Hales (2) back in the hut off Chahar’s bowling, it took the in-form duo of Shikhar Dhawan and Williamson some time to get into the groove. But like always they kept the scoreboard ticking.
Rather than looking to hit the good balls, the two looked to keep the scoring rate moving and waited for the bad balls to hit to the boundary. With Dhoni finishing Chahar off at one go, it turned out slightly easier for the SRH batsmen as the rest failed to trouble the skipper and Dhawan. They moved smoothly towards the death overs as the scoring rate started to rise.
But Dwayne Bravo picked the wicket of Dhawan (79) against the run of play as the opener hit the slower ball from the pacer straight to Harbhajan Singh at short fine-leg. Things went from good to dicey when Williamson (51) was caught beautifully off the first ball of the very next over as Bravo now took a good catch off Shardul Thakur. From a comfortable 141/1, the scoreboard read 141/3 in the 17th over.
Manish Pandey (5) too failed to finish well as he had another failure in a season which has seen him look out of sorts at times. But thankfully for Hyderabad, Deepak Hooda (21* off 11 balls) finished well to ensure that the outfit reached a respectable 179/4 in their 20 overs.
IPL 2018 POINTS TABLE
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First Published: May 14, 2018, 7:50 AM IST