Chennai: Lauding Chennai Super Kings opener Brendon McCullum's unbeaten 100 in his side's second consecutive win in IPL-8, Sunrisers Hyderabad mentor VVS Laxman on Saturday said the New Zealender's first ton of the season was a "special innings".
Riding on McCullum's 56-ball knock and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni's 29-ball 53, CSK posted a mammoth 209 for four in 20 and then restricted Sunrisers Hyderabad to 164 for six in their 45-run triumph.
"I think it was a special innings especially in the manner in which he hit Boult (Trent) for a six in the last over. It was a very good ball but Brendon put it away for a six. I think the bowlers did not get the desired rhythm and also credit to the CSK batsmen to put pressure on the bowlers," Laxman said after the team's loss.
The stylish Hyderabadi batsman also did not forget to mention 'Captain Cool's' knock, which was laced with 4 fours and 4 sixes.
"Even MS (Dhoni), when he came in he put pressure on Karn Sharma in one over. He never allowed bowlers to get in to their rhythm. Except for Trent and Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) to some extent, our bowlers were not in the best of rhythm.
We cannot go by the set standards. Because Ishant (Sharma) was not finding his rhythm, Warner decided to bowl Bopara (Ravi) in the death," he said.
For SRH, skipper David Warner tried hard to get behind the mammoth chase with a fighting 53 off 42 deliveries but after the Australia left-handers departure the team was left playing catch-up. Even Laxman opined that Warner's wicket was key.
"When you chase an important total you should have some wickets in hand and one of the set batsmen to play till the end. Warner was that batsmen for us but it was a brilliant catch which got him out.
"Even though we got good start from Shikhar and warner we lost the momentum a bit with Rahul (Lokesh) and Naman (Ojha) getting out. I think it was a fantastic wicket to bat on. Till Warner was there we thought we were with a chance. Ravi Bopara played a cameo but unfortunately we lost too many wickets," Laxman said.
Coming in as first change, Ishant Sharma went for 46 runs from his three overs and it really hurt SRH. Ishant also bowled four no balls and Laxman opined that the extra deliveries really hurt the lanky pacer's rhythm.
"I think Ishant did not find his rhythm. The no balls upset his rhythm. He started well but when he bowled no balls against top quality batting line up like CSK had it plays really heavy on a bowler's mind.
"That is exactly what Ishant had realised and we have to accept that Brendon McCullum at the top of his game, only in this match but over the last one year. He is a very strong powerful hitter of a cricket ball," Laxman said.
Laxman though encouraged the fit-again Ishant for his comeback match and said that the India pacer will surely get into rhythm sooner than later.
"I think he started of well if you see his first two overs, except for the no ball. I think the third over cost him. Once a bowler bowls a no ball under T-20 or one day format that plays heavily on his mind.
"This was his first competitive game he is playing after injury. He had really worked on his fitness and bowling well in the couple of practice matches. I am sure he is a class bowler. He will only improve as the tournament progresses. I think he will be mindful of bowling no balls," he said.
On picking up Boult in place of Dale Steyn in the XI, Laxman said, "Dale is a fantastic bowler. We wanted the left hand variations in our bowling, especially considering that the top three batsmen Brendon, Smith (Dwayne) and Raina (Suresh), we wanted someone with that kind of variation. It is a tough choice. You can only have four overseas in playing eleven. Luckily we had various options in the Indian bowlers point of view. We thought Boult suits the combinations against the CSK batting."