Ambati Rayudu scored his maiden IPL century as CSK made light work of table-toppers SRH to put one foot in the play-offs in Pune on Sunday.
Chasing 180 to win, Rayudu (100* off 62 balls) and Shane Watson (57 off 35 balls) added 134 runs for the opening stand in 13.3 overs to kill it as CSK won their eighth game in 12 matches. It was SRH's third defeat in 12 matches.
After a few quiet previous outings, Rayudu on Sunday played like a champion and totally destroyed the much-fancied SRH bowling. None of the SRH bowlers - with the exception of Rashid Khan - could contain Rayudu and Watson and only halfway through their defence, the visitors found themselves out the contest.
Watson and Suresh Raina (2) departed in quick succession and that was as good as it got for SRH because after that Rayudu - fourth man this season to score a ton - and MS Dhoni (20 not out) batted with great conviction to take CSK over the line in 19 overs with eight wickets in hand.
Earlier in the day after being put into bat at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, SRH reached a competitive total of 179/4. However in light of a brilliant second-wicket stand between Shikhar Dhawan and Kane Williamson, they were at least 10-15 runs short.
SRH lost Alex Hales early for 2 to the returning Deepak Chahar who showed great control with the ball. It didn't appear he had been out of action for a while due to injury. Williamson joined Dhawan and they picked up where they had left off against DD in their last game.
They took a while to settle down but once they did, the runs started coming thick and fast. The 123-run stand was broken by Dwayne Bravo when he removed Dhawan for 79 off 49 balls. However it was the wicket of Williamson, who had just completed his 7th fifty, highest for any player this season, off the next ball for 51 off 39 balls that really hurt SRH's aspirations.
Shortly after removing Williamson, Shardul Thakur subjected Manish Pandey (5) to the same treatment. These three wickets in a jiffy took the momentum totally off SRH's innings but in light of their excellent bowling resources, one largely expected them to defend 179.
That didn't happen though as Rayudu and Watson took them unawares with excellent power-hitting to make it an easy chase for CSK.