New Delhi: In the football parlance, we have seen, read and experts say that it was a game of two halves. On Sunday, CSK were average in the first ten overs and something else in the next. For CSK it turned out to be a game of two halves.
Despite getting two records (not worth boasting) -- of lowest powerplay and lowest ten-over scores to their name, CSK transformed dramatically and rode on a brilliant 112-run stand, including half-centuries by Ambati Rayudu (79 off 37 balls) and Suresh Raina (53* off 43 balls), helping the team put up 128 runs in the last ten overs to reach a creditable 182 against SRH. MS Dhoni too brandished his sword during the death overs to contribute a quickfire 25 off 12 balls.
CSK must take heart from the fact that 182 is a winning total considering the slowness of the Uppal wicket. With Rayudu sent down the order, CSK suffered at the top as they could not see the flourish Rayudu was provided them in the previous games. But facing a different challenge on Sunday to bat in the middle order, Rayudu rose up to the occasion and showed Chennai that what he is capable off. He took his time initially to get his eye in and footwork getting used to the pace. But once his engine got revved up, there was no looking back for CSK even on a sluggish track.
Suresh Raina too started in his enterprising manner, manoeuvring in the crease to pick his spot displaying a wide array of shots.
Rayudu excelled at his home ground owing to his reading of the pitch. While it wasn't easy to find runs from the length area, anything short or wide asked for treatment. This would also mean that he ensured he played the ball really late and moved into position only after the ball was released from the hand of the bowler.
One of the examples of that could be how he clubbed/ slogged a Bhuvneshwar knuckleball over midwicket for a six. Usually, batsmen have been found early in their short, Rayudu on that occasion was in sync with the pace of the delivery. Even against spinners, he wasn't committing himself early on the front foot and the slow nature of the pitch allowed him to rock back and play the pull.
In the 14th over, he displayed anticipation coupled with nimble footwork to milk 19 off Billy Stanlake's over. After having collected a couple of boundaries off the half-trackers, he jumped on the last two balls of the over to get a six and a four. Then CSK collected 14 and 17 run overs when Rayudu went after Shakib and Rashid Khan. With Rashid, he played with his mind beginning by cashing on his wide deliveries. He wanted him to bowl within the stumps and knew he would drop in short going by his flickering confidence.
Before him, Raina was at his innovative best. Against seamers, he hopped around the crease to find the gaps. Against spinners, he showed class and cruelty. Class in picking the right spot every time he went for a slog and cruelty for not letting them run for cover. His best came against Rashid, who has been under the pump, as he thumped him for two sixes by stepping down. Later, he swept him for boundaries.
CSK could not thank Raina and Rayudu much, who despite being pushed to the wall, came out with a plan, settled and then launched a calculated attack to take their side to a winning total. SRH let the advantage slip and will have to bat exceptionally well to scale this total.