SURESH Raina’s opportunity to lead Chennai Super Kings (CSK) for only the third time in VIVO IPL history ended in defeat, as the MS Dhoni-less defending champions succumbed to a six-wicket defeat to Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), only their second defeat of this season.
Sunrisers, as a result, remain in contention of a place in the Playoffs having registered their fourth win out of eight matches.
Electing to bat after winning the toss, CSK could manage only 132-5 from their 20 overs on a fresh Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium pitch, but Sunrisers Hyderbad cantered home with 3.1 overs to spare, their openers once again leading the run chase with half-centuries.
David Warner began the run chase in characteristic fashion, racing to a 25-ball half-century before his dismissal, but Jonny Bairstow’s unbeaten 44-ball 61 ensured no drama towards the end even though they lost three more wickets.
Earlier, the momentum from CSK’s innings was snuffed out with a cluster of wickets that fell in the middle overs. Only 52 runs came from the last 10 overs after Faf du Plessis and Shane Watson had added 79 runs for the opening wicket inside the first 10.
Watson, bowled off Shahbaz Nadeem for 31 (29 balls) began a procession of wickets CSK didn’t quite recover from, with Ambati Rayudu finishing with 25 not out from 21 balls, and Ravindra Jadeja an uncharacteristic 20-ball 10 not out against his name.
Despite CSK’s rollicking start after four quiet initial overs, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed and Rashid Khan combined for excellent economy rates to restrict the batsmen. The absence of the inspirational figure of MS Dhoni exposed the CSK middle order, as none of the batsmen provided the impetus towards the tail-end of the innings.
The destructive opening pair of Sunrisers were at it again, this time against CSK. Warner and Bairstow made short work of the CSK total with a rollicking start, as they took on the CSK opening bowlers for 68 runs in the Powerplay.
Warner perished for an even 50 off 25 balls, but his innings contained 10 boundaries that put the pressure back on the CSK bowlers up front.
Bairstow played the support role towards the beginning of the innings, but took over the scoring duties after Warner’s dismissal. The England player got stuck into the CSK spinner Karn Sharma, and his three fours and three sixes in his 44-ball stay killed the run chase.
CSK looked set for a competitive total when their openers were at the crease. Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis added 79 for the opening wicket before their innings lost momentum, but du Plessis controlled the start of the innings with some attacking strokeplay.
His innings included three fours and as many sixes to power the CSK innings, but his dismissal proved to be vital for SRH to come back in the game.
Scores: Chennai Super Kings: 132-5 (Faf du Plessis 45, Shane Watson 31, Rashid Khan 2-17, Vijay Shankar 1-11) lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad: 137-4 (Jonny Bairstow 61*, David Warner 50, Imran Tahir 2-20)