MS Dhoni's splendid campaign of successive victories had gone for a test over its tenacity when his fleet took on Warner's Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) on Wednesday. The Chennai Super Kings had put out a magnificent display of game and decorated the top spot of the table while Sunrisers were yearning to revive from being at the bottom of the table. Though it was a clash between the top and bottom, the match had presented nail-biting moments and thrillers and kept the fire till the end.
Dhoni's fleet had come to the battlefield with the aim of registering a fifth consecutive victory while SRH has met the battle by being a strong team with plenty of talent. The match was hosted by Feroz Shah Kotla stadium in Delhi and SRH Skipper David Warner won the toss and surprisingly decided to bat first. Warner and Jonny Bairstow had opened the innings and their partnership had stumbled within the powerplay and it was Sam Curran who broke the opening stand.
Bairstow went for just 7 runs and like most of the time, it was David Warner who had the responsibility of anchoring the SRH batting. He was joined by Manish Pandey at the center and after setting a stronghold, they began their batting shows by punishing the CSK bowlers particularly Shardul Thakur. Pandey was in sublime form at the right time and he smashed the balls everywhere scoring 61 runs from 46 balls including five fours and one six.
Warner struggled to middle the ball but got to his half-century, eventually scoring 57 runs from 55 balls including three fours and two sixes. Both the batsmen were dismissed by Lungi Ngidi and the responsibility fell upon Kane Williamson and he had provided the much-needed elevation for the SRH by scoring 26 runs in just 10 deliveries. With a six to end from Kedhar Jadhav, the SRH had put on 171 runs on the board for the loss of 3 wickets.
With a competitive target on the board, CSK had begun the chase and the team had an excellent opening stand with Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis building an effective campaign towards the chase. Faf was aggressive as always. Ruturaj, who started slowly during the powerplay, went into the beast mode after that. They completed a hundred-run partnership with Faf scoring 56 runs and Ruturaj scoring 75 runs from just 44 balls that included 12 boundaries.
It was yet another remarkable hundred-run partnership for the team and it had come when the team was under the scrutiny of fixing the batting line-up. Faf and Ruturaj left the crease by scoring 75 and 56 runs respectively and they both were dismissed by Rashid Khan. CSK had scored 129 runs when the team lost its first wicket and the team was just under the requirement of 43 runs to reach the target.
Moeen Ali had walked back to the pavilion by scoring 15 runs but no damage was done to the course of the game as Raina and Jadeja got the grip on the campaign and driven the team towards a fifth consecutive victory. Both Raina and Jadeja stood at the crease when they touched the target and scored 17 and 7 runs respectively. With the short and sweet role, both the left-handers had ensured a comfortable win for the CSK by 7 wickets.
CSK had reached the target with nine balls left and scored 173 runs by losing three wickets. With the five consecutive victories, the CSK is back on top in the points table with an excellent net run rate. For his stellar batting performances, Ruturaj Gaikwad was named the player of the match, his first in the IPL. After passing the test for his tenacious campaign, CSK Skipper MS Dhoni opened up about the victory. Speaking at the post-match presentation ceremony, Dhoni said, "The batting was superb. But that doesn't mean the bowling was not good. It was a surprisingly good wicket."
He stated, "Whenever we come to Delhi, we never expect a wicket like this. It was coming on nicely, there was nothing for the spinners as well. Good thing was there was no dew. Last night we felt 170 was just below par if there's no dew. Brilliant opening partnership. Whenever you start the tournament, you may or may not face issues in playing XI. The earlier you settle the better. Another factor was 5-6 months we were out of cricket. Nothing was allowed. It's not that you could go on your own and practice. That also makes it difficult. Change of quarantine, was slightly longer. A lot of factors. Overall if I have to sum it up, the players have taken more responsibility this year."
"You will be facing adverse things but ultimately it boils down to how each individual rises to the occasion and gives the extra 10 percent for the team. Last 8-10 years, we have not changed a lot of players so they know our approach. Also, we appreciate the players not playing a lot. The only way you can put it forward is by having those nice interactions. Just try to have the frame of mind where if you get the opportunity you'll be ready. Keeping the dressing room atmosphere healthy is important. It's not an easy thing. When you're at the top level you want to play. Have to give extra credit to the players who have not played so far," Dhoni added. CSK will be taking on the mighty Mumbai Indians in their next match on May 1.