Chennai Super Kings 138 for 3 (Conway 77, Gaikwad 35, Markande 2-23) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 134 for 7 (Abhishek 34, Jadeja 3-22, Akash 1-17) by seven wickets
Devon Conway’s third half-century in a row helped Chennai Super Kings chip away at the target of 135 against Sunrisers Hyderabad on a slow, gripping pitch at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. Earlier, Ravindra Jadeja grabbed three wickets – and combined with Maheesh Theekshana to bowl eight overs for only 4 for 49 – to stem Sunrisers’ momentum after a bright start.The visitors had three spinners in their side, including the left-arm spin of Impact Sub Mayank Dagar. But even as Dagar, Washington Sundar and Mayank Markande were economical, and even got two wickets, they didn’t particularly cause any trouble to the opposition batters. Thus, as a result of the seven-wicket win, Super Kings stay third on the points table, but only on net run rate, level on points with Royals and Super Giants.
Jadeja turns it CSK’s way
Jadeja was introduced in the eighth over after Harry Brook had helped Sunrisers to 34 from the first four overs, and then Theekshana and Moeen went for ten each. His first over went for seven, and next over, Moeen went for eight; Sunrisers were 70 for 1 after nine overs.
Then came the time-out, and the match changed tracks; the track itself seemed to have become rugged. Some deliveries turned, some didn’t. A few held on to the pitch, while some others came on higher than anticipated. Second ball after the break, Jadeja got one to bounce nicely at Abhishek Sharma, with the batter playing for the turn. But he pulled and found long-on as the ball just went on straight after pitching. An innings of 34, which had sparkled briefly, came to an end.
Then, second ball of the 12th over, Jadeja bowled full and outside off to Rahul Tripathi, who tried to fetch it for a slog sweep but top-edged to short fine leg. On that occasion, the ball seemed to have stopped before coming on, as Tripathi fell for a run-a-ball 21. And if that was not enough, Mayank Agarwal – demoted to No. 6 – lost patience and skipped out to Jadeja in the 14th over. MS Dhoni had him stumped, and Sunrisers’ slide from 71 for 1 to 95 for 5 turned out to be match defining.
Devon Conway and Ruturaj Gaikwad added 87 for the first wicket•BCCI
Conway motors along
Conway found the boundary three times off the first ten balls he faced, lofting, flaying and punching away at the ball. Yet, he was on 18 off 19 deliveries when Super Kings were at 37 without loss after five overs. That is when Marco Jansen got some treatment: Ruturaj Gaikwad took a single to start the sixth over, and Conway went 4, 4, 6, 4, 4.
All of those shots had variety: it started with the ramp; then came the scoop; a lucky, top-edged pull followed, and a deft touch past the wicketkeeper later, Conway ended the over by bisecting the short third and the point fielders. It took all of that for Sunrisers to introduce spin, but it was a bit too late. Conway raised his fifty from 33 balls in the tenth over, and ended unbeaten on 77, including 12 fours and a six.
Sunrisers’ experiment backfires
Sunrisers had started the season with Abhishek and Mayank Agarwal as openers, with Brook in the middle order; next match, there was no Abhishek. Then they realised Brook and Agarwal can open together, and one game later, Abhishek returned, but in the middle order. They stuck with that one more time, before pushing Abhishek back and Agarwal down to No. 6 against Super Kings. Alas, it didn’t work.
Agarwal departed for his third single-digit score in six innings, though Sunrisers would take heart from Abhishek’s effort at the top. But time is running out for Sunrisers, who find themselves ninth just one game away from the halfway stage. Batting first, two out of three times they have been restricted below 135, and they haven’t always been competitive while chasing either. Something must click. Soon.
Himanshu Agrawal is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo