Chennai Super Kings (CSK) openers Ruturaj Gaikwad (75 off 44) and Faf du Plessis (56 off 38) featured in a 129-run opening stand in 13 overs as MS Dhoni’s men trounced Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) by seven wickets in Delhi on Wednesday. The win helped the three-time champions move atop the points table, ahead of RCB on net run-rate.
Earlier, a late cameo of 26 not out off ten balls from Kane Williamson lifted SRH from a precarious position to a total of 171 for 3. But the effort went in vain as CSK got off to yet another confident start, with Du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad looking largely untroubled for large swathes.
After Du Plessis and Gaikwad scored a boundary apiece in the first three overs, the former smashed Khaleed Ahmed for consecutive fours at the start of the fourth. The first one was threaded past backward point, while the second was smartly steered past the wicketkeeper.
Siddharth Kaul was also welcomed into the attack with two boundaries. After Gaikwad edged one past short third man, Du Plessis cracked one past extra cover. The big shots kept flowing as CSK eased their way to 50 at the end of the powerplay.
There was no respite for SRH, as the ninth over bowled by Jagadeesha Suchith was taken for 17 - the highlight being a six dispatched over long-on by Du Plessis. Both CSK openers soon brought up their respective half-centuries.
Du Plessis reached the landmark first, taking 32 balls when he guided Kaul for a couple to long leg. Gaikwad scored his fifth IPL fifty off 36 balls, pulling Suchith between deep midwicket and wide long-on for a four. He celebrated the feat by smashing two more fours off consecutive deliveries.
Just when it looked like CSK would coast to a ten-wicket win, the opening partnership ended when Gaikwad was bowled by a Rashid Khan leg-break. The CSK opener had picked three fours off the spinner in the over before his fine innings of 75 (44) - his best score in the IPL - was cut short.
Moeen Ali arrived and hit two boundaries off Rashid Khan. However, the leg-spinner had his revenge when he had Moeen Ali caught at wide long-on. Off the very next ball, Rashid Khan trapped Du Plessis lbw with a googly. That was too little too late, though, as CSK eased home in 18.3 overs.
Kane Williamson cameo lifts SRH to 171 for 3
Kane Williamson smashed an unbeaten 26 off only ten balls as SRH posted a challenging 171 for 3, batting first against CSK. Despite half-centuries from David Warner (57 off 55) and Manish Pandey (61 off 46), SRH only reached 138 at the end of the 18th over as CSK kept things tight.
Williamson broke the shackles by carting three fours and a six in the 19th over bowled by Shardul Thakur to give the SRH innings some momentum. The first four came via a full toss that was whipped over midwicket and was followed by a six crunched over extra cover. Another low full toss was clipped past midwicket for four before a slower bouncer was ramped over backward point.
20 runs came off Thakur’s over as Williamson showed his class again. Kedar Jadhav joined the fun by clubbing the last two balls of the innings delivered by Sam Curran for four and six. The penultimate delivery was upper cut over short third man, while the last one was crunched over deep square leg.
Earlier, batting first after winning the toss, SRH enjoyed some early luck, as MS Dhoni dropped a sitter offered by Jonny Bairstow. CSK did not have to pay much for the miss, though, as Bairstow fell for 7, miscuing a pull off Curran to deep backward square leg.
Warner and Pandey featured in a second-wicket stand of 122, but it was a case of struggle than dominance, especially with Warner. Just like Rishabh Pant on Tuesday, the SRH captain failed to find his timing and ended up scoring at just over a run-a-ball. He hit only three fours and two sixes during his stay at the crease.
Warner’s first six came in the 15th over of the innings when he lofted Lungi Ngidi over long-off. In the next over bowled by Ravindra Jadeja, he carted a six over midwicket to move from 49 to 55. His half-century off 50 balls marked the slowest fifty of his T20 career.
Pandey was the more aggressive of the two. In the tenth over of the SRH innings, he danced down the track to Moeen Ali and launched him over midwicket for a maximum. Although he did not find the boundaries very frequently, Pandey managed to bring up his fifty off 35 balls.
Both Warner and Pandey perished in the 18th over bowled by Lungi Ngidi, though, while trying to look for quick runs. Warner dragged a wide ball to deep extra cover, while Pandey was fabulously caught by Faf du Plessis, diving to his right at wide long-on. Williamson and Jadhav then joined hands to haul SRH past 170.
IPL 2021: CSK vs SRH - Man of the Match
Both CSK openers cracked fine half-centuries as the three-time champions won for the fifth time in six games this season.
Ruturaj Gaikwad hammered 75 off only 45 balls, smashing 12 fours during his blistering knock. Faf du Plessis also brought up another fifty, hitting six fours and a six.
CSK pacer Lungi Ngidi was the most successful bowler for CSK, dismissing both the SRH half-centurions in one over and finishing with figures 2 for 35.
For SRH, captain David Warner made a hard-fought 57 off 55, while the returning Manish Pandey chipped in with 61 off 46. Leg-spinner Rashid Khan claimed three wickets for 36 runs. However, the trio's efforts went in vain, as the 2016 champions lost their fifth game this season to languish at the bottom of the points table.
For his blistering innings of 75, Ruturaj Gaikwad was awarded the Man of the Match.