An impressive middle-order batting performance from the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) after a top-order batting collapse, and then an economical display by their spinners helped them in claiming victory over the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the 14th game of the 2020 IPL.
Opting to bat first, SRH lost Jonny Bairstow in the first over itself, cleaned up by an inswinger from Deepak Chahar. David Warner, joined by Manish Pandey, then proceeded to play out the powerplay cautiously, with Pandey finding the boundaries frequently. The partnership ended when Pandey ended up chipping a catch to Sam Curran at mid-off in the 8th over. Kane Williamson gave company to David Warner for the next four overs until Warner, who was unable to accelerate having played 29 balls in exchange of 28 runs, ended up holing out to Faf du Plessis at long-on, who, as usual, put in a great effort to hold on to the opportunity. Williamson was run out after a mix-up with Priyam Garg that left the Blackcaps skipper stranded mid-pitch, and SRH, whose middle-order batting has been a matter of concern for the last few seasons, were in serious trouble.
Two unlikely, young heroes emerged for them today after that, bailing them out of trouble and helping them get to a fighting total. While Priyam Garg held fort at one end, Abhishek Sharma went after the spin of Chawla and Jadeja, finding boundaries on multiple occasions. The 17th over from Sam Curran saw Garg, who had been subdued until then, up the ante, scoring 20 of the over with three boundaries and his first six in this year’s IPL. Abhishek Sharma was given two lives from the CSK fielders in consecutive deliveries next over, the first one being Ravindra Jadeja before he nicked off to Dhoni off Chahar. Garg reached a half-century in the penultimate over, and SRH set a target of 165 for CSK to win.
ALSO READ: IPL 2020: CSK vs SRH Game Plan 2 – Can Warner, Bairstow, Pandey and Williamson be suppressed?
Much like SRH, CSK’s top-order collapsed cheaply as well. Watson dragged a Bhuvneshwar Kumar delivery onto his stumps, Rayudu, playing his first game since the inaugural 2020 IPL match against Mumbai Indians, never looked to be in, and was cleaned up by an absolute jaffer from Thangarasu Natarajan. Du Plessis was run out due to a terrible call from Jadhav in the same over, and Jadhav himself fell to the part-time leg-break of Abdul Samad 3 overs later.
The top-order collapse meant that SRH could keep the runs down by using their leg-spinners against MS Dhoni, whose record against wrist-spinners has been sub-par, especially in the recent years. His partner, Ravindra Jadeja, a left-hander, could not do much to compensate for the same, which resulted in an attainable target starting to slip out of reach for the men in yellow. There was a slight hint of acceleration from Jadeja going into the last few overs, but just as he reached 50 and looked to turn the match around, he holed out to Samad at deep square leg off Natarajan. Dhoni, despite running out of steam in the Dubai heat, tried his utmost best to make up for the earlier part of his innings, but his and Sam Curran’s efforts (batting at 7) were never going to be enough, as they fell short by 7 runs. SRH did win their third game of the season and climb back to the top 4, but they will be worried about Bhuvenshwar Kumar pulling up in the penultimate over and walking off, unable to complete his spell.
Positives for SRH from today’s game
Commendable middle-order batting performance
Priyam Garg and Abhishek Sharma provided something that was very much required for the Sunrisers Hyderabad for a long period of time. SRH’s batting line-up has relied heavily on David Warner and Jonny Bairstow since the Yorkshireman’s acquirement in the 2019 IPL auction, and Manish Pandey at times. Their middle-order had been lacking depth, something that has been talked about by experts and commoners alike. It seemed like the game was up for SRH after they lost 4 of their best batsmen for the score of 69, but the way the two youngsters approached the rest of the innings post the top-order collapse must have given the franchise in orange a heavy sigh of relief. Garg and Abhishek put on a partnership of 77 for the 5th wicket, which helped them recover from 69/4 to get to 164.
Pacers stifling the flow of runs in the start of the chase
The fast-bowling duo of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and T Natarajan were instrumental in SRH’s victory over DC with a clinical death-bowling display, and they picked up their fine form from their last game today. By the time the first time-out of the second innings was taken, CSK were 42/4, with their top 4 batsmen back in the hut. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, and Thangarasu Natarajan were immaculate with their line and length, with Natarajan producing the ball of the match and taking the wicket of the dangerous Ambati Rayudu, whose presence in the side helped CSK chase down a similar target in their first 2020 IPL game against MI after losing their openers cheaply. CSK did not help themselves either, losing du Plessis to a silly run out four balls later. It was the spin-duo of Abhishek Sharma and Rashid Khan who set the game up for the pacers to close it out, this time it was the pacers, who helped the spinners ease into the attack.
Part-time leg-break of Abdul Samad coming good
All Rashid Khan needs to produce a match-winning performance is a spin-bowling partner who is equal to the task. If it was Abhishek Sharma in the last game, it was part-time leg-spinner, Abdul Samad, today – bowling his first over in the IPL, he got Kedar Jadhav to spoon a catch to David Warner at cover. That brought MS Dhoni, who has been susceptible to leg-spin, to the crease, which prompted SRH skipper Warner to give more overs to Samad, something that bolstered the 18-year-old Jammu-Kashmir batsman’s confidence, and he ended up bowling his entire quota of 4 overs, out of which his first three went for only 20. With his spin bowling partner keeping things tight at his end, Rashid Khan, too produced an economical spell of 12 runs off his 4 overs, following which CSK required 78 off the last four overs.