Chennai Super Kings defeated SunRisers Hyderabad by 13 runs at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune to secure their third win of IPL 2022 after MS Dhoni returned as CSK’s captain on Sunday. Nicholas Pooran’s 67-run knock went in vain as Mukesh Choudhary’s four-wicket haul propelled CSK to their 3rd win of the season. SRH have now lost two back-to-back matches after winning five on the trot.
After Kane Williamson won the toss and decided to bowl, Chennai Super Kings openers Ruturaj Gaikwad and Devon Conway got off to a brilliant start. The two were relentless against a top-quality SRH bowling line-up and hit some stunning shots to all corners of the ground.
Ruturaj Gaikwad was unfortunate to miss out on a hundred, falling for 99, but he was involved in a 182-run partnership for the opening wicket with Devon Conway.
Devon Conway was playing his first match since his marriage and he finished unbeaten on 85 off 55 balls – his knock was studded with 8 fours and 4 sixes.
Ruturaj Gaikwad’s 99 came off only 57 balls and he smashed 6 fours and 6 sixes in the course of his innings.
T Natarajan took both CSK wickets and finished with 2 for 42 off 4 overs.
Chasing 203, Sunrisers Hyderabad needed a quick start and they got it from Abhishek Sharma and Kane Williamson. The two were aggressive from the word go and gave SRH the perfect launchpad in pursuit of a steep target.
Abhishek Sharma had hit a classy half-century when SRH defeated CSK in their previous encounter this season and on Sunday, he was getting in the groove again. However, his blitz was ended by Mukesh Choudhary and Sharma was back in the hut for a 24-ball 39.
Mukesh Choudhary struck again with the next ball to dismiss the dangerous Rahul Tripathi for a golden duck.
Suddenly, SRH were 58 for 2 at the end of the powerplay and the game was wide open.
CSK could have taken a stronger hold of the match at that stage, but MS Dhoni dropped Kane Williamson off Ravindra Jadeja’s bowling in the 7th over of the innings. Jadeja got one to turn away from Williamson who got a faint edge on the ball and Dhoni failed to hold on to the catch.
The onus was now on SRH skipper Kane Williamson and Aiden Markram.
Markram has been in good form this season and he hit Mitchell Santner for successive sixes in the 10th over before hitting a half-track straight to Ravindra Jadeja at wide long-on.
Halfway through the innings, SRH were 89 for 3 and needed 114 runs in the last 10 overs.
Sunrisers Hyderabad have the best bowling attack in IPL 2022. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is clever with his variations, Marco Jansen uses his height well, T Natarajan is difficult to get away from and Umran Malik is pure pace. In fact, he had single-handedly almost denied Gujarat Titans a few nights back with a five-wicket blitz.
On Sunday, this all-star pace attack ran into the defending champions who have had a poor run this season. As MS Dhoni returned to lead Chennai Super Kings, he made two changes, one of which was forced.
Dwayne Bravo, Dhoni’s trusted lieutenant for several years, had to be ruled out with an injury. And in came the newly-married Devon Conway, who proved to be the perfect foil for Ruturaj Gaikwad, the Orange Cap winner in 2021.
And together, they sent the SRH bowlers on a leather hunt across the MCA Stadium.
This was Ruturaj Gaikwad’s home ground. And he chose this venue to make a huge statement.
Ruturaj Gaikwad had started the season with a duck and had scored only one half-century in a horror run for the Super Kings, but on Sunday, he was determined to make amends and smashed his first hundred of the year and his second in the IPL overall.
Along with Conway, Gaikwad bullied the SRH attack and they were particularly harsh on Umran Malik, the fastest bowler on show in the IPL this year.
Ruturaj Gaikwad looked brilliant in that knock but he fell for 99 and was clearly heartbroken. However, even the opposition acknowledged a special effort. He was involved in a 182-run partnership with Devon Conway.
MS Dhoni walked in to bat at No.3 but managed to get only 8.
Both CSK wickets went to T Natarajan, who finished with 2 for 42 off 4 overs.
Devon Conway finished unbeaten on 85 to take CSK to a commanding 202 for 2 off their 20 overs.
In their previous match against SRH, CSK had lost by 8 wickets. Nothing was going right for CSK then, but Sunday night promised to be different.
That CSK-SRH clash at the DY Patil Stadium is a distant memory now, but Ruturaj Gaikwad would have remembered how bad he was made to look by T Natarajan, who dismissed him with a peach of a ball. Moeen Ali had made 48 to give CSK’s score some sense of respectability, but two wickets apiece from Natarajan and Washington Sundar had restricted them to 154 for 7 off their 20 overs.