Ambati Rayudu’s 79 off 37 balls rescued the Chennai Super Kings and help beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by four runs in Hyderabad.
It was closer than it should have been, thanks to a magnificent effort by New Zealand’s Kane Williamson, who almost singlehandedly kept the Sunrisers in the game after they lost three wickets for 22 runs, chasing 183 to win.
Earlier, the Sunrisers, who chose to bowl first, held the Super Kings to the lowest powerplay score of the season, at 27-1, and the lowest halfway score of the season too, at 54-2.
That’s when Rayudu pressed the accelerator. In the next 10 overs, CSK scored 128 for the loss of one wicket, led by Rayudu’s 79, which included nine fours and four sixes. Suresh Raina ended with a more sedate 54 off 43, while MS Dhoni injected a valuable 25 off 12 balls.
Faf du Plessis, now recovered from a side strain and the finger injury sustained in the final Test against Australia, opened with Shane Watson, but struggled with his timing and just could not get going. Watson, hero of the day last time out with a superb century, crashed out on nine, followed shortly after by Du Plessis (11), as he was stumped off the leg break of Rashid Khan. But that, at least, brought Rayudu to the crease.
Perhaps it was the shock of seeing fortunes turn so rapidly that the Sunrisers were eclipsed by Deepak Chahar, whose medium pacers claimed the first three wickets with just 22 on the board in 4.2 overs.
Only Williamson shone, but it was too much for one man. He scored 84 off 51, including five fours and five sixes, but without any real support until Yusuf Pathan came to the party late on with 45 off 27. The target was always just out of reach, even with Rashid Khan’s 17 off four balls.
CSK were without Imran Tahir, who is ill.