Watson’s Fireworks Help CSK Get Past Sunrisers, Regain Top Spot
Shane Watson brought back memories of last year's IPL final with a blazing knock that has now almost ensured a play-off berth for Chennai Super Kings, as they beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by six wickets on Tuesday.
On a vastly improved Chepauk track, Watson roared back to form with an 96 off 53 balls as CSK stuttered a bit in the end, before winning in 19.5 overs.
Watson's innings, studded with nine fours and half a dozen of sixes, ensured that CSK reached the cut-off point of 16 points, needed to enter the play-offs.
Watson's innings would also be a relief for skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who had urged the top order to finish matches.
A 77-run stand between Watson and Suresh Raina (38) created the platform as the former Australia all-rounder singlehandedly decimated the Sunrisers attack.
Sandeep Sharma was another bowler, who was handed severe punishment as he went for 54 in 3.5 overs. Sandeep repeatedly bowled short and Watson gleefully pull him. Skipper Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1/18 in 4 overs) had no option but to bowl the 19th over which left Sandeep with nine runs to defend.
In the final over, Kedar Jadhav (11 not out) hit Sandeep Sharma for a six despite Pandey's brilliant effort on the boundary to save it. However, there was some late drama with Rayudu getting out with one run needed off two balls.
Eventually, in Jadhav hit the winning runs as CSK won the match by 6 wickets with a ball to spare.
Earlier, the immensely talented Manish Pandey was back in his element as his unbeaten 83 off 49 balls powered Sunrisers Hyderabad to a fighting 175 for 3 after being put into bat.
Pandey and the league's current leading run-scorer David Warner (57 off 45 balls) added 115 runs for the second wicket to lay the foundation for Hyderabad’s innings.
Despite the early dismissal of Bairstow, the visiting team didn't get tied down as the irrepressible Warner and Manish Pandey kept hitting boundaries and sixes. They brought up the team's 50 in the sixth over.
Pandey who has not been in the best form, hit his straps, scoring freely and was not afraid to go over the top. Dhoni's shuffling of bowlers didn't make much of an impact as Warner and Pandey kept attacking.
Pandey was the first to reach 50 in 25 balls, pulling one from Dwayne Bravo for a boundary. Warner was a touch slower in comparison but he didn't miss out when the opportunity presented itself and hit a couple of big sixes.
The pugnacious Warner fell against the run of play, victim to Dhoni's trademark lightning quick stumping off a Harbhajan delivery. The Australian, who is leading the run charts this season, fell for 57 (45 balls, 3x4, 2X6) after adding 115 runs for the second wicket with Pandey.