New Delhi: CSK survived a scare from SRH as they eeked out a narrow five-run win on Sunday at Hyderabad. Despite reaching a creditable 182 after being 54/2 in 10 overs, CSK had their heart in the mouth till the very end as Kane Williamson nearly snatched the victory from their grip. The SRH skipper, despite having seen the fall of three early wickets, anchored the chase with a brilliant 84 off 51 balls but stumbled near the finish line. Rashid Khan spiced up the chase by hitting a six and a four in the last over but Dwayne Bravo bowled an accurate yorker to help CSK collect another win in the IPL campaign.
If Ambati Rayudu and Suresh Raina helped CSK reach thus far, seamer Deepak Chahar showed his love for Hyderabad by picking three wickets with the new ball. The Rajasthan seamer, who in 2010 had telling figures of 8-10 against Hyderabad in the Ranji Trophy match, wreaked havoc in the T20 format finishing with spellbinding figures of 4-1-15-3. No matter how close SRH reached in the end, it was Chahar's effort at the top which played it's part to make the chase difficult for the hosts. Chahar swung the ball prodigiously to trouble SRH. He first induced an edge of Ricky Bhui, then got Manish Pandey and finally sent Deepak Hooda back to strengthen CSK's cause.
Kane Williamson was at his stylish best during such a tricky chase. Despite SRH in the soup early on, Williamson stuck to merit and played shots right out of the batting book. In the absence of David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan, Williamson has been shouldering the batting responsibility without showing any signs of panic. His five boundaries and as many sixes were a delight for the eye, for he hit them clean. Williamson made the chase interesting by hitting every loose delivery for boundaries and forced the bowlers to change their line against him. Anything wide and short was treated with utter disdain. He drove beautifully, punched with elegance and lofted with nonchalance. Just when it looked that he might take the SRH home, he miscued a pull of Bravo to end his innings. Yusuf Pathan too played a sweet cameo, good to take SRH closer but not enough to take them home.
Earlier, despite getting two records (not worth boasting) -- of lowest powerplay and lowest ten-over scores to their name, CSK transformed dramatically riding 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 nearly proved a winning total. 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 what he is capable of. He took his time initially to get his eye in and footwork get used to the pace. But once his engine got revved up, there was no looking back for CSK, even on a sluggish Uppal track.
Suresh Raina too started in his enterprising fashion, manouevering 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.
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, batted exceptionally well but lacked the courage to climb atop the summit.