Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have extended their winning streak to five games after a sensational seven-wicket win over the beleaguered Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi on Wednesday.
After being put in to bat, SRH lost an in-form Jonny Bairstow early on and a lot depended on how their talisman David Warner paced his innings. Although the 34-year-old forged a strong partnership with Manish Pandey, the duo couldn't quite press the accelerator.
Kane Williamson, arguably SRH's most fluent batsman this season, walked out to bat in the 17th over. Despite facing just 10 balls, the Kiwi scored a quickfire 26 and along with some lusty blows from Kedar Jadhav, SRH managed to post a target of 172 for CSK to chase.
CSK's strong point this season has been their opening combination of Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis. Although the target looked to be slightly below par given the size of the boundaries and the dew factor, the CSK openers put up another sensational century-stand that broke the back of the run-chase.
Gaikwad scored an impressive 75 while Du Plessis continued his red-hot form with a third consecutive fifty this season. The Proteas veteran also became the leading run-scorer of the tournament, going past Shikhar Dhawan.
While CSK march on with their winning momentum, SRH have a lot of issues to deal with. Sending Pandey ahead of Williamson raised quite a few eyebrows and that certainly cost them some runs. They are now probably in the do-or-die territory where they may need to win every remaining game to qualify for the playoffs.
Updated Points Table:
What's next for CSK?
CSK have done a superb job of sticking to their players despite having a poor IPL 2020 season. They have identified certain areas that they had to address and with players like Moeen Ali, CSK have certainly added muscle to their line-up.
The three-time champions will next face the defending champions Mumbai Indians at the same venue on 1st May. With the two sides sharing a fierce rivalry, this promises to be an IPL classic.
What's next for SRH?
Another year, but the same problem continues to haunt SRH, and that is the uncertainty of their batting line-up. They remain too dependent on the likes of skipper Warner, Bairstow and Williamson to get the side to large totals. Injuries to Bhuvneshwar Kumar and T Natarajan have made their bowling weak as well.
SRH play the Rajasthan Royals next, in an afternoon game at the same venue on 2nd May. With five losses from six games, SRH might either go hell for leather having nothing to lose, or could retreat into a shell and see their season end in disaster.