Chennai Super Kings held its nerve to win by four runs, off the last ball, in its Indian Premier League match against Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Rajiv Gandhi international stadium on Sunday evening.
Against the visitor’s 182 for three, the host’s chase folded at 178 for six.
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Wobbling at 22 for three barely a fourth of the way, Sunrisers skipper Kane Williamson waged a near lone battle (84, 51b, 5x4, 5x6) that brought his side within striking distance.
Yusuf Pathan’s 45 and Rashid Khan’s four-ball 17 nearly landed the spoils but it was not to be, as the Sunrisers slipped to its second defeat in nine encounters on home turf.
After the home side chose to field first under an overcast sky, Ambati Rayudu wielded his bat like a rapier, scything through the Sunrisers attack. His blistering 37-ball 79 at a strike rate of 213.51, propelled Chennai from its lowest half innings score of 54 for two to close at an imposing 182.
The men in yellow seemed afflicted by the batting blues against an attack billed the best when it came to economy, pinned down in the powerplay to 27 for one. With the openers gone, Suresh Raina (53 n.o., 43b, 5x4, 2x6) and Rayudu propped up the Chennai charge with a rollicking third wicket stand.
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Rayudu dominated initially till Raina too got into the act, lofting Rashid over the long on ropes off two successive deliveries. Not to be left behind, Rayudu stepped out to smack the towering Billy Stanlake for a six over the nearly seven foot tall speedster’s head.
Rayudu batted as if he had scores to settle, smiting Shakib into the sight screen. The Hyderabad native singled out Rashid for some rough treatment and seemed set for a century. A mid-pitch mix-up in a bid to steal a single brought the curtains down on his endeavour.
Deepak Chahar (three for 15) bowled the tautest line of the contest, his 17 dot balls squeezing Sunrisers’ campaign dry. Sending debutant Ricky Bhui as opener boded ill for the home side, the youngster edging to his end with a catch to Watson in the slips.
Manish Pandey flirted with disaster, throwing his bat at a delivery leaving him and was promptly pouched by Karn Sharma at third man. Hooda fared little better but a semblance of resistance was built up with Shakib Al Hasan’s fighting 24.
Undeterred by the procession of his partners to the dugout, Williamson never gave in, holding one end up through ones and twos and before long making the most of his familiarity with the Chennai attack that held out little threat to his solid stay and strokeplay.