Chennai Super Kings added another victory to their season with a clinical 7-wicket victory over the SunRisers Hyderabad and re-established their dominance at Chepauk, in a rivalry already heavily skewed towards the men in yellow (13-5).
CSK won the toss and Dhoni didn’t hesitate in choosing to field first. SRH sent a new opening combination to bat, Abhishek Sharma came back to the top (with Mayank Agarwal getting demoted) and Harry Brook retaining his slot.
The pair started steadily with Brook driving an Akash Singh half-volley straight down the ground, and Abhishek slashing Deshpande towards cover. He then flicked Akash for a six and Brook collected two fours off Deshpande. The dangerous Harry Brook looked set for another big knock, but Ruturaj Gaikwad pouched a sharp catch between backward point and short third, to send back the English batter. Akash Singh gave away just 17 runs off his first three overs. Abhishek lofted Theekshana over extra cover to end Hyderabad’s powerplay at 45/1.
Moeen Ali came into the attack and Rahul Tripathi showed intent straightaway, smashing him over long-on for a 76-metre six on a day when there weren’t many. Abhishek Sharma was looking in ominous touch, rotating strike and pouncing on any loose balls on a pitch with help for the spinners. However, Jadeja came back to scalp Abhishek when the southpaw failed to pull a relatively shorter ball, slicing the ball high which Rahane caught safely running in from long-on.
With the score at 71/1, the fall of Abhishek changed the momentum of the match as CSK spinners dried up the runs in the middle overs. Jadeja returned to claim Tripathi who tried to sweep from outside off, but instead getting a top edge caught by Akash. Markram fell soon in the next over when he failed to read Theekshana’s carrom ball, edging it to Dhoni behind the stumps who made a terrific catch look simple. Mayank stepped out to Jadeja, who shortened his length to beat the batter and Dhoni wasted no time to light the bails up.
There was no coming back from there as the Hyderabad middle order crumbled. Klaasen and Jansen hung around for some time, albeit scoring slowly, with CSK applying their famed spin choke at Chepauk. Matheesha Pathirana bowled well at the death to keep SRH at a below-par 134/7.
Chasing a small total, there was no need for CSK to hurry as Devon Conway and Ruturaj Gaikwad started positively. SRH pacers failed to make early inroads as the openers kept chipping away. With the score at 37/0 after five overs, Conway maximized the 6th over from Jansen, hammering 23 runs off the left-armer to burn any hopes of a comeback from the orange army.
Post that, it was a sedate run chase from the Chennai batters, who slowly began ticking the scoreboard once the spinners came on, knowing they had the wickets in hand and the required run rate was below run-a-ball. It took a dash of luck for SRH to get a breakthrough when Conway drove a fuller ball from Umran Malik straight, which the bowler tried to grab in his followthrough, but the ball graced his fingertips and lit up the stumps at the non-striker’s end, with Gaikwad way outside his crease.
Mayank Markande got Rahane soon who tried to flick the ball after stepping but ended up edging it to slip, where Markram initially fumbled but managed to grab after popping it out. Rayudu then failed to read a wrong one from Markande and heard his stumps rattled to give the leg spinner his second wicket. The crowd insisted on Dhoni coming out to bat, but Moeen Ali came in and ensured that there were no more hiccups and took CSK home, with Conway finishing on 77 not out. Ravindra Jadeja got the player of the match award for his brilliant spell of 4-0-22-3.