Chennai Super Kings recorded their fourth win in five matches, beating Sunrisers Hyderabad by five wickets at Sharjah on Thursday night. Chasing 146 to win with plenty of dew on the field, CSK openers Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum came out all guns blazing. Smith and McCullum matched each other stroke for stroke and by the time McCullum (40 off 33 balls, 3x4s, 2x6s) lost his stumps to legspinner Karn Sharma while attempting to cut, 85 runs had already been put on the board in 10.4 overs.
McCullum’s wicket didn’t deter Smith as the West Indian continued his assault, soon completing his third fifty this season – in 37 balls. Suresh Raina also got in on the act in the 14th over as he smashed Ishant Sharma, who came in a replacement for Naman Ojha, for a big six over midwicket and a four. The lanky medium pacer, however, avenged himself on Raina (14) off the last ball of the over as the left-hander found Venugopal Rao on the sweeper boundary.
It needed an excellent diving catch from David Warner at long-off off the bowling of Bhuvneshwar Kumar to bring about Smith’s fall for 66 off 46 balls (4x4s, 5x6s). Bhuvneshwar struck again two balls later inducing Faf du Plessis (0) to edge one through to wicketkeeper Lokesh Rahul. Ishant provided a late twist to the tale in the penultimate over as he cleaned up Ravindra Jadeja for six. But that was all as MS Dhoni (13*) hit an Amit Mishra fulltoss on the legside for a four to take his team over the line with three balls to spare. It was SRH’s third defeat in four matches.
Earlier, SRH had Karn (17 off 7 balls) and Darren Sammy (23 off 15 balls) plenty to thank for a competitive 145 for 5 on a very slow pitch. Both combined for 32 runs in the last two overs to give their team a good total to bowl at.
SRH had a horrible start though, thanks to Australian pacer Ben Hilfenhaus’s double strikes in the third over. SRH captain Shikhar Dhawan picked out Mithun Manhas at midwicket after executing a poor pull shot and two balls later last-match half-centurion Warner fell victim to a poor umpiring decision. Vineet Kulkarni didn’t take much time to pronounce him lbw but replays showed the ball had pitched outside leg and also going over the stumps.
Lokesh joined opener Aaron Finch at the crease and both added 52 runs before Rahul, against the run of play, hit Smith straight into the hands of Ishwar Pandey at deep midwicket. The big-hitting Finch, who played against his nature for the most part of his innings, and Rao played according to the situation and mostly dealt in careful shots. However, Rao went back to the pavilion after scoring 13; his drive on the up off Mohit Sharma in the 15th over came a cropper as Smith took a simple catch at mid-off.
Mohit struck again, two overs later, to clean up Finch with a slower ball for 44. With the innings in shambles, Karn joined Sammy and both displayed extraordinary power-hitting. The penultimate over bowled by Hilfenhaus yielded 20 runs with Karn hitting two bold sixes, one hook and one over the covers. Sammy hit Mohit for a six in the last over to brighten things further up for SRH.
Brief score: SRH 145 for 5 in 20 overs (Finch 44; Sammy 23*; Mohit 2/27) lose to CSK 146 for 5 in 19.3 overs (Smith 66, McCullum 40; Bhuvneshwar 2/23) by five wickets