SAM Curran’s tone-setting 21-ball 31 at the top highlighted the Chennai Super Kings’ daring, new approach with the bat as they put up 167 for 6.
After Curran completed the double duty - taking the prized scalp of David Warner in the powerplay - the Super Kings’ slower bowlers took over, smothering the Sunrisers Hyderabad in a passage of play that was straight out of Chepauk. Kane Williamson manipulated the field with a 36-ball half-century and Rashid Khan gave the Super Kings a late scare with 14 off eight balls, but Shardul Thakur and Dwayne Bravo defended 26 off the last two overs, sealing the Super Kings’ third victory in eight games.
The result left the Super Kings in a three-way tie in the bottom half of the IPL points table with the Sunrisers and the Rajasthan Royals.
With the Sunrisers requiring 46 off 18 balls, MS Dhoni turned to legspinner Karn Sharma over Thakur. After Williamson went four and out, Khan and Shahbaz Nadeem scrambled three boundaries in four balls in a 19-run over.
Thakur was thrust into the hot seat for the penultimate over, and after Khan carved a double, Thakur speared an off-side yorker past the tramline.
The next delivery was also a wide yorker and just as umpire Paul Reiffel was about to signal a wide, Dhoni protested. Reiffel ultimately deemed it a legal ball and at the end of a five-run over, Khan trod on his stumps and holed out off the same delivery. Bravo then closed out a 20-run win with his yorkers and slower dippers.
There were other heroes for the Super Kings as well. Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu, who had struck centuries against the Sunrisers previously, countered Khan and Nadeem as both the spinners went wicketless, conceding 59 runs between them. Dhoni unleashed a whipped six off T Natarajan, and Ravindra Jadeja cracked an unbeaten 25 off 10 balls before knocking over Jonny Bairstow with his arm ball.
The Sunrisers were 59 for 3 in the tenth over when Bairstow was dismissed, leaving Williamson and the rest of the middle order with too much to do against Super Kings’ seven-man attack.
Batting first for the first time this season, the Super Kings pushed Watson down to No. 3 to accommodate Curran at the top.
Though Faf du Plessis nicked Sandeep Sharma behind for a golden duck, Curran tonked left-arm seamer Khaleel Ahmed for two fours and two sixes in the fourth over. In the next over, Sandeep switched to around the wicket and got one to hold its line to clean up Curran. The Super Kings progressed to 44 for 2 in six overs.
Rayudu was dropped by Bairstow on 9 and Watson on 20 by Khan off his own bowling as the pair added 81 off 64 balls. Both batsmen took on Khan in his last over, carting him for sixes. Watson was troubled by the left-arm angle and hard lengths of Nadeem, but Rayudu was more fluent against him, even hoisting him over his head for six.
Both set batsmen, however, fell in successive overs in identical fashion - holing out off full-tosses. Dhoni and Jadeja then provided the finishing kick, helping the Super Kings take 48 off their last four overs.
Armed with a deep bowling attack, Dhoni used all four overs of Deepak Chahar upfront. He went wicketless, but he did find swing and accuracy even though Warner and Bairstow walked at him.
Warner was dismissed, by Curran, for the first time in the powerplay this season, and then the Super Kings’ spinners ran rings around the Sunrisers. They even gave Dhoni the luxury of having a slip in the middle overs.
By the time Jadeja bowled Bairstow, the Sunrisers were 60 for 3, needing 108 off 10 overs.
Karn found sharp turn and teased Priyam Garg before making the incision.
However, Piyush Chawla, who had started the season as the Super Kings’ frontline spinner, was barely needed by Tuesday. Imran Tahir, who was ferrying drinks, told the TV commentators that he was “licking his lips” looking at these tiring UAE tracks.
Williamson calmly manoeuvred the ball into the gaps and took the chase deep. He was on 21 off 19 at one point, but raised the tempo, finishing with 57 off 39 balls. Khan, who batted at No. 7 in the absence of Abishek Sharma, who was left out for Nadeem, threatened a comeback, but Thakur and Bravo saved the day for the Super Kings. (cricinfo)
Chennai Super Kings 167 for 6 (Watson 42, Rayudu 41, Sandeep 2-19) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 147 for 8 (Williamson 57, Bravo 2-25, Karn 2-37) by 20 runs.