Sunrisers Hyderabad 155 for 2 (Abhishek 75, Tripathi 39*) beat Chennai Super Kings 154 for 7 (Moeen 48, Washington 2-21, Natarajan 2-30) with eight wickets
Sunrisers Hyderabad finally came on the board chasing 155 without any major contribution from their international stars as they took Chennai Super Kings to their fourth defeat in four games. It left the defending champions taking about eight wins from 10 games to qualify for the playoffs.
Washington, Natarajan take out the openers
Super Kings made their usual start: Ruturaj Gaikwad looking to gear himself up for the long innings and Robin Uthappa looking to use the power play. However, a slow pitch continued to beat Uthappa’s timing before finally going out on the first ball he ran into from Washington at the start of the fourth left. Introduced in the sixth over, Natarajan threw the perfect full late swinging delivery first to go through Gaikwad making it 36 for 2.
Moeen Ali, usually full of intent, wanted to give himself some time, but the struggles of Super Kings were embodied by Ambati Rayudu. He kept trying to get out, but struggled to get any kind of timing on the slow throw. Finally, Rayudu Washington misplaced to wide long-on for a run-a-ball 27. Sunrisers made it difficult by using their different bowlers in these overs so the batters couldn’t get used to anyone.
With three left-handed batters lined up, Williamson took the opportunity to bowl one over from Aiden Markram’s part-time offspin, giving the cushion to Umran Malik, who had gone for 29 in three overs. While Moeen managed to hit one six on Markram, the second attempt ended at long-on. A slope of a slower short pass from Natarajan provided Shivam Dube.
At the end, when all bets were settled, Ravindra Jadeja penalized Natarajan for missing his yorker twice by just inches, and Bhuvneshwar gave in wide in the final over in an attempt to stay out of the batter’s reach. Twenty-nine came out of the last two overs to give Super Kings some hope.
Abhishek announces himself
The game started with a question mark over Abhishek’s position at the top of the standings, as Tripathi is known for his explosive starts, which could give Williamson exactly the platform he needs to line up for the long innings. However, Sunrisers made it clear that they supported their pick for the season. Abhishek eventually carried Williamson, who struggled like the batters of the Super Kings.
It wasn’t until the last left of the power play that Abhishek really opened up. He lifted Maheesh Theekshana’s full offbreak over extra cover for a four, followed by the carrom ball over deep midwicket for a six. Still, at 37 for 0, it looked like Sunrisers were gearing up for a close finish as demand speed pushed 8.5 on a difficult throw.
Even as Williamson tried to work his way into some kind of one-and-two contact, Abhishek continued to find the limit. When Williamson got out at the start of the 13th, Sunrisers still needed 66 out of 47.
Tripathi takes the lead
If Abhishek’s stroke rate of 150 and above made it seem like he was hitting a different field than Williamson, Tripathi was in a completely different dimension. The second ball he saw he drew for six, the fourth hit over midwicket for four and the seventh drove over cover. Suddenly, Sunrisers only needed one run, but Tripathi made sure there was a net run-rate bonus for them when he got stuck in Chris Jordan and Dwayne Bravo.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo