A listless Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings (CSK) suffered third straight defeat when they went down by seven runs to SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the 14th IPL match on Friday — and dropped to the bottom of the points table in the eight-team tournament.
Chasing a 165-run target, the CSK were restricted to 157 for five wickets in 20 overs, courtesy some economical spells by the SRH bowlers, who were clinical enough to defend a moderate total. This was the second straight win for SRH, who had scored 164 for five wickets in 20 overs after winning the toss.
The story of the contest was quite similar in both innings as the two sides suffered a top-order collapse before the middle-order batters tried to control the damage and rebuild it. However, it was SRH who came out victorious at the Dubai International Stadium.
CSK were reduced to 36/3 at one stage after their top three batters — Faf du Plessis (22), Shane Watson (1) and Ambati Rayudu (8) — were dismissed cheaply. Abdul Samad, just 18, further dented CSK as he packed back Kedar Jadhav (3) in the ninth over as they reeled at 42/4.
Ravindra Jadeja (50) and skipper Dhoni (47 not out) then anchored the innings with a 72-run partnership for the fifth wicket. In the 18th over, Jadeja notched up his maiden half-century off 34 balls before T. Natarajan accounted for his wicket and that left CSK at 114/5 in 17.4 overs. The left-hander’s knock was laced with five boundaries and two maximums.
With the required run-rate continuously mounting, Dhoni and Sam Curran (15 not out) tried their best to chase down the target by going for big hits. However, it wasn’t enough to stop SRH from registering their second consecutive win of the tournament.
Dhoni’s unbeaten knock, which came off 36 deliveries, included four boundaries and a hit into the stands.
For SRH, T. Natarajan scalped two wickets while Samad, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar – who sustained injury and left the field during the fourth and final over of his quota, picked a wicket apiece.
Earlier, opting to bat on winning the toss, SRH witnessed a top-order collapse, but youngsters Priyam Garg (51 not out) and Abhishek Sharma (31) were involved in a rescue act that propelled their side to a respectable total.
Starting the proceedings, SRH received an early jolt as Deepak Chahar dismantled opener Jonny Bairstow’s stumps in the very first over and with a run on board.
David Warner (28) and Manish Pandey (29) then tried to repair the damage as the 2016 champions were 42/1 in the initial six overs. The duo, however, failed to convert their partnership into something big as Shardul Thakur broke the 46-run stand in the eighth over.
Warner and New Zealander Kane Williamson were then involved in a brief 22-run stand before Piyush Chawla got rid of the Aussie in the 11th over.
Just off the very next ball, the situation worsened for the ‘Orange Army’ as Williamson flicked a Chawla delivery towards the mid-wicket area and called for a quick single. But Garg was reluctant to respond and the Kiwi skipper was left stranded in the middle of the pitch. Ambati Rayudu, who was at mid-wicket, easily threw the ball to Dhoni, who completed the run out. Williamson’s fall saw SRH being reduced to 69/4 in 11 overs.
Despite the top-order collapse, which comprised some of the most experienced batters of the game, young Garg and Abhishek Sharma’s rescue act was pleasing. The duo’s sensible batting not only denied CSK bowlers from making further inroads, but also helped SRH cross the three-digit mark in 15 overs.
Chahar finally got a breakthrough in the 18th over as he dismissed Abhishek, terminating the 77-run stand. Garg, however, continued to collect runs, and in the process, notched up his maiden IPL half-century, off 23 balls.
The youngster was joined by Abdul Samad (8 not out) after Abhishek’s departure and they took their side to 164/5 in the allotted 20 overs quota. The lack of power hitters in the SRH middle-order was clear visible as they failed to post a big total after the top-order collapse.
For CSK, Chahar picked two wickets for 31 while Shardul and Chawla settled with one each.
Brief scores: Sunrisers Hyderabad 164/5 wkts in 20 overs (Priyam Garg 51 not out, Abhishek Sharma 31; Deepak Chahar 2/31) beat Chennai Super Kings 157/5 wkts in 20 overs (Ravindra Jadeja 50, MS Dhoni 47 not out; T Natarajan 2/43) by 7 runs