Not for nothing has Chennai Super Kings been billed the team to beat in the IPL. Their ability to bounce back after a few bad games and fight as a unit has been the envy of most teams. On Thursday, CSK, with a professional display, defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad by five wickets.
When the equation read 15 runs off the final over from Ashish Reddy, MS Dhoni made 14 runs with two fours and a six. Thus, they pulled off yet another last-over win with two balls to spare.
Dhoni, after enjoying a slice of luck, proved his mettle again with a valuable 67 not out (37b, 7x4, 3x6). His consecutive sixes off Dale Steyn to the mid-wicket region in the penultimate over left the South African maestro speechless. Thus, Dhoni once again enhanced his reputation as a finisher, doubtlessly one of the best in the business.
Chasing 160 for a win, CSK began in earnest with their openers Mike Hussey and Murali Vijay clicking straightaway. Vijay looked a much improved player as he seldom played away from the body and was timing the ball well. Hussey continued from where he had left off against Rajasthan. The authority with which he began clearly showed the way for Chennai. Together, they stitched 65 runs in only 7.3 overs.
Then, Chennai almost made a mess of it. In the space of 11 runs, leggie Amit Mishra accounted for both openers. Mishra had Suresh Raina, and at 99 for three, they were in a spot of bother. However, Dhoni and Bravo hung around for 31 runs and took CSK within touching distance of their sixth win of the season. However, they still required 28 runs the from last 12 balls, and for the umpteenth time, Dhoni produced a gem, despite losing Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja.
Hyderabad, though, would not have reached this score, respectable than imposing, without Shikhar Dhawan’s unbeaten 63 off 45 balls and lower-order batsman Ashish Reddy’s 36 not out of 16 balls. Dhawan was their only batsman who could handle CSK’s bowling. He pulled Jason Holder twice to the mid-wicket fence before he square-drove Mohit Sharma.
But when wickets fell regularly at the other end, he subdued himself. He was content taking singles and twos. To make matters worse, he was forced to retire hurt as a Bravo ball crashed into his box.
He returned in the 18th over, and with the help of Reddy propelled them. CSK, once again, leaked runs in the death after holding fort in the powerplay and middle overs.