(Cricinfo) A predatory mauling that lasted for most of Chennai Super Kings’ innings set up a mammoth 77-run win for the visitors, who ruined Sunrisers Hyderabad’s perfect home record and placed themselves on the very brink of another playoffs berth yesterday.
Michael Hussey’s 42-ball 67 fanned the sparks of a bright start into a roaring middle-over onslaught, before Suresh Raina acquired the bellows and set the stadium ablaze. At the close of the innings, he was one run short of a deserved hundred, having struck at over 190, and with the aid of a brief late burst from Ravindra Jadeja and a woeful Sunrisers attack, he had lifted his side to 223 for 3.
Sunrisers rarely looked capable of challenging that total during their response, and finished eventually on 146 for 8, now facing a steep climb into the playoffs, as their net run rate (-0.228) suffered due to the big defeat.
At the toss MS Dhoni said he had instructed his side to drive their 60-run loss to Mumbai Indians from their minds, and it is difficult to imagine how his side could have been more emphatically obedient. The same top order that succumbed to 40 for 6 in their last match appeared in supreme collective form in Hyderabad, and though their opponents were lacklustre at best, Super Kings’ batsmen not only exacted a heavy toll from the bad balls, they heaped pressure on the bowling by creating their own space and blasting even good deliveries to the fence.
Ishant Sharma began the rot for Sunrisers on his way to figures of 0 for 66 in his four overs – the worst ever spell in the history of the tournament. Dale Steyn, who conceded only 17 in contrast, had begun the match with a maiden to Hussey, but the batsman quickly amended his strike-rate against Ishant, before his opening partner M Vijay exploited the poor bowling even more brutally in Ishant’s next over, by hitting him for three consecutive on side sixes.
Hussey’s knock was drenched in class. Running hard as always, and finding gaps with uncanny precision, Hussey moved smoothly through the gears after his slow start, and before long, Super Kings were hitting 10 runs or more an over as a matter of routine. The spinners were treated little differently from the errant quicks – Hussey launched both Amit Mishra and Karan Sharma into the stands – before Raina came quickly up to speed and had eclipsed his senior partner before Hussey’s dismissal.
Sunrisers continued to stray, though it must be said the flat pitch offered little wiggle room for bowlers, and Raina, moving particularly swiftly around the crease, rarely seemed to be breaking a sweat as he hit ball after ball to the fence. He tortured a broken Ishant in his final over, hitting four pretty fours and a slogged six, plundering 23 from that over for himself, though two wides added a couple more to the team tally.
Sunrisers failed to rally at any point after Super Kings had set off, and though Parthiv Patel gave the hosts a sliver of hope, as he set off quickly in their reply, the clatter of wickets at the other end snuffed that chance, and left them still outside the top four on the table. Super Kings consolidated their position at the top with 20 points, with three league games to play.