Hyderabad: A disciplined bowling effort followed by solid fifties from David Warner and Jonny Bairstow guided Sunrisers Hyderabad to a six-wicket win over Chennai Super Kings at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Wednesday.
Chennai were without MS Dhoni who was ruled out because of a stiff back, bringing an end to his 121-match streak for the franchise. After stand-in skipper Suresh Raina won the toss and opted to bat, Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis got Chennai off to a solid start before they collapsed. They kept losing wickets at regular intervals and could only manage 132 for 5 in their 20 overs.
In reply, Warner (25-ball 50) and Bairstow (44-ball 61*), who have done major chunk of the scoring for their team, were at it again and got the job done for Hyderabad with 3.1 overs to spare.
With four wins to their name, Hyderabad are currently at No. 5. Meanwhile, despite the defeat, Chennai are still at the top with 14 points in nine encounters.
Earlier, Watson and du Plessis started slowly and were 15 without loss at the end of four overs before they smashed Sandeep Sharma for 12 runs to bring some momentum into the innings. Du Plessis then blasted a 4 and 6 in the next over of Khaleel Ahmed (1 for 22) and made sure Chennai remained wicketless for only the second time in this season at the end of powerplay.
Du Plessis kept the attack going and used his feet to perfection to take on Shahbaz Nadeem. However, it was the left-arm spinner who broke the 79 run stand by knocking over Watson for 29-ball 31. That's when all hell broke loose as Vijay Shankar managed to get an outside edge off du Plessis' willow. Du Plessis fell caught behind for a 31-ball 45, studded with three fours and as many sixes.
The visiting side had no other option but to build the innings, but Rashid Khan had other ideas. The legspinner trapped Raina (13) and Kedar Jadhav (1) with a floaty legbreak and a googly respectively in the space of four deliveries to break the back of Chennai's batting lineup. Rashid gave away nothing during his spell and ended with the figures of 2 for 17.
Sam Billings too departed without making a contribution as Chennai lost five wickets in the space of 22 runs and were reduced to 101 for 5. Ambati Rayudu (21-ball 25*) and Ravindra Jadeja (20-ball 10*) were choked in the final few overs by Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Co. as Chennai were restricted to a below-par total.
Chennai needed early wickets to put some pressure on the home team but Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur struggled to get their line and length right and Warner and Bairstow made the most of it. The two smacked seven fours in the first four overs and Hyderabad raced to 44 without loss.
Raina was forced to introduce Imran Tahir in the fifth over but even he faced the wrath of Warner's bat. The left-hander welcomed the legspinner with a slog sweep for four before reverse sweeping one over backward point for another boundary. Warner made it three in three and continued the rampage in the next over as well to bring up his half-century off just 24 balls. Having hit 10 fours, Warner finally mistimed one and ended up offering a simple catch to du Plessis at mid off.
With 68 runs on the board at the end of six overs, it looked like Hyderabad would run away with the game but Tahir sent Kane Williamson back for 3 to keep his side in the game. It was Warner's innings that actually took the run-rate out of the equation and that allowed Bairstow and Vijay to be cautious against Tahir and Jadeja.
Bairstow finally opened his shoulders against Karn Sharma and swept him for two maximums over deep mid-wicket. Tahir, however, kept fighting and picking up wickets, this time of Vijay who was caught behind for 7. Despite being smashed for 14 runs in his first over, Tahir finished with the figures of 2 for 20.
Bairstow, however, batted till the end and brought the curtains down with a huge six down the ground.