Shane Watson smashed a superb 96 against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) on Tuesday at Chepauk to take Chennai Super Kings (CSK) one step closer to the playoffs. Opting to field first, CSK broke Sunrisers’ threatening opening stand early but had to counter with a Manish Pandey blitzkrieg on the way. With 176 to chase down, Watson fired on all cylinders to take Chennai Super Kings home.
Here are the best moments from the match at Chepauk.
Shane Watson vs Rashid Khan
Shane Watson turned around his average form in the tournament with a brilliantly compiled 96 off 53 balls but perhaps the highlight of the innings was his battle with Rashid Khan. The Afghanistan leggie had a few words for the Australian but unfortunately for the Sunrisers bowler, Watson has shown in the past that throwing verbals at him is futile and instantly fires him up.
Off the 13 balls Rashid bowled at Watson on Tuesday, the opener smashed 30 runs including three fours and two sixes. The murderous mood Watson was in, Rashid's tossed up deliveries merely proved to be fodder for his gigantic slog sweeps.
Though Watson is said to have a weakness against leg spinners, Rashid isn't one of them. Of the 63 balls Watson has faced from him in the format, he has scored 90 runs at a strike rate of 142.86. He is the only batsman to face 40 or more balls from Rashid and not be dismissed at least once. On Tuesday, he showed that he still has it in him to counter a sledge with his sledgehammer-like bat.
When Manish Pandey almost hit Deepak Chahar on the head
In the fifth over of the innings, Deepak Chahar nearly coped a deadly blow on his head when Manish Pandey slammed him down the ground off a full-length delivery. after conceding a four to Warner at the beginning of the over, Chahar bowled one in Pandey's arc outside his off-stump.
In no mood to miss out, Pandey swung his bat hard and the ball came right back at Chahar who ducked just in time to avoid the ball hitting his head. Even in that desperate attempt, the bowler commendably tried to get a hand on the ball to stop the boundary. Chahar came back strong in the death after that 13-run powerplay over with the wicket of Vijay Shankar in a brilliantly-bowled 19th over off which just seven runs came.
MSD vs Bairstow: A story of two stumpings
David Warner was threatening to take the game away from Chennai Super Kings in the company of a rejuvenated Manish Pandey and at 120/1 after 13 overs, Sunrisers were in cruise mode. Dhoni turned to his only wicket-taker in the match until then — Harbhajan Singh — to break the century stand, and on the third ball of the 14th over, the veteran off-break bowler struck.
Harbhajan slowed his pace and gave the ball some nice revolutions to catch Warner off-guard. The Sunrisers opener looked to loft down the ground but missed. The wild swing forced one hand off the handle and losing his balance, Warner's back-foot came out of the crease. Dhoni stumped the Australian to give CSK the much-needed breakthrough.
In the run-chase, we witnessed another brilliant stumping, this time by Jonny Bairstow. Suresh Raina was starting to look in great touch after racing to 38 in 23 balls. The southpaw had to be stopped and it looked like Rashid Khan was the right man for the job with Raina having struggled against the leggie in the earlier match between these sides in the season. On that occasion, Raina was trapped in front by a conventional leg-break after missing a slew of googlies.
On Tuesday, Rashid was quick to dish out his wrong 'un. He beat Raina's edge with a googly off the first ball of the 10th over. Off the final ball in the same over, Rashid beat his bat again, but this time Raina had lunged forward and the back-foot was out of the crease. Bairstow was pretty quick to effect the stumping to bring an end to Raina's cameo.
Raina, Bairstow drop sitters
Suresh Raina gave Manish Pandey a life late in the innings when the Sunrisers Hyderabad batsman miscued a slower ball from Chahar in the 19th over to Raina at mid-off. The Chennai veteran shelled an easy catch as Pandey survived. The batsman, though, did not have much time to make use of his reprieve and faced only two more balls in the innings. Raina’s fielding in the match came under scrutiny yet again after he had misfielded a couple of times earlier in the innings.
A more costly drop came in the second innings when Shane Watson was handed a life by Jonny Bairstow. In the 9th over of the run-chase, Sandeep Sharma eked out a massive edge off Watson but Bairstow behind the stumps could not cling on to the catch despite a desperate one-handed attempt jumping to his right. Watson, on 33 then, went on to make 96 to win Chennai the match.
Deepak Hooda hits bull's eye
CSK have had poor starts from their openers this season but Faf du Plessis has been a solid performer at the top for them. With Sunrisers Hyderabad setting a pretty decent total at Chepauk batting first, the onus was on the in-form du Plessis to ensure that the hosts got off to a good start.
After the first two overs yielding just two runs, CSK had to get a move on and du Plessis crunched Bhuvneshwar to mid-off and took off for a non-existent single. Deepak Hooda, who was standing near the egde of the inner circle, attacked the ball and threw down the stumps to catch the South African short.
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T20 cricket league was halted in Pakistan in March after seven players and support staff tested positive for Covid-19, and restart efforts stalled as the country was hit by a third wave of the virus.
The wily leg-spinner, who is in high demand in T20 leagues around the world, plays for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League and has been signed up by Lahore Qalandars for the remaining matches of the ongoing Pakistan Super League.
With the T20 World Cup around the corner, Rashid feels he is better off focussing on what he does best.