Chasing 180 against a string Hyderabad attack, Rayudu cracked a superlative century and added 134 for the opening wicket with Shane Watson to help Chennai win the match comfortably and all but qualify for the IPL playoffs.
The Super Kings now have eight wins from 12 matches and are on the verge of qualification.
DHAWAN-WILLIAMSON SHOW AGAIN
Most century partnerships by a pair in an IPL season:— Bharath Seervi (@SeerviBharath) May 13, 2018
5 Kohli-ABD, 2016
3 Dhawan-Gambhir, 2008
3 Gayle-Kohli, 2012
3* Dhawan-Williamson, 2018#CSKvSRH
Sunrisers Hyderabad are a top heavy side. Their top three batsmen have generally done all the heavy lifting. Earlier it was David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan. This year it’s Dhawan and captain Kane Williamson.
It’s a strategy that has worked for them. On Sunday, opener Alex Hales was dismissed for a laborious two from nine balls. It was left to the prolific Williamson (51) and Dhawan (79) to put some impetus into the innings by adding 123 runs for the second wicket.
SEAMERS STRIKE BACK
Sunrisers were 141-1 in the 16th over and a total close to 200 seemed on the cards. However, Chennai dismissed Dhawan and Williamson off successive deliveries with Dwayne Bravo getting the Indian and Shardul Thakur dismissing the Kiwi skipper.
Deepak Hooda connected a few towards the end. Otherwise Sunrisers would have struggled to reach close to 180.
OPEN AND SHUT CASE
The Super Kings top order has been in great form this season and they reserved their best for the best bowling attack in the tournament. Opener Ambati Rayudu (100*) and Shane Watson (57) took on the might of Hyderabad’s bowling, not allowing Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Siddarth Kaul especially to settle. The two Indian seamers were blasted for 78 runs from seven overs. Chennai’s openers accumulated 134 runs inside 14 overs.
POOR FIELDING HURTS SUNRISERS
Despite the opening stand, Hyderabad had a golden opportunity to knock the wind out of Chennai’s sail during the death overs. In the second ball of the 16th over, MS Dhoni slapped Shakib Al Hasan straight to long on where Manish Pandey, one of the safest fielders in India, dropped an absolute dolly.
A wicket at that point would have reduced Chennai to 143 for three with 37 needed from 28 balls. However, that chance was all that Dhoni needed to take the game by the scruff of the neck. Dhoni finished the game off with 20 from 14.
RAYUDU ON A ROLL
Chennai batsman Ambati Rayudu has been in scintillating form this season. He has 535 runs from 12 matches and the best part about his batting has been an uncomplicated approach to batting.
Rayudu has been around for more than a decade and has made regular appearances in the national team as well. But his batting never looked as smooth and effortless it has this season.
It has been an amazing change in fortunes for Rayudu who last year made headlines for a road-rage incident where he was captured on camera getting into a fight with a senior citizen.
He maybe 32 right now but it can be said Rayudu has made a fresh start in his career.
Rayudu reached the three digit milestone in the penultimate over as his 100 (off 62 balls) helped Super Kings chase a competitive 180 in Pune.
MS Dhoni was 20 not out while Shane Watson set the platform with a 57-run knock from 35 deliveries. The win was their eighth in 12 matches and Sunrisers’ third defeat of the competition.
Earlier, Sunrisers Hyderabad reached 179 for four with half centuries from Shikhar Dhawan and Kane Williamson leading the charge.
Follow all the action from Pune here.
RCB, rooted in second from bottom in the table, sparked some rest bite last time out with a five-wicket victory over Delhi Daredevils.
Though, it has been a largely disappointing campaign for the franchise who need to win this one and then their final two group matches to stand any chance of progression to the business end of the 11th edition of the IPL.
The picture, on paper at least, is brighter for KXIP but that doesn’t tell the full story of their recent plight. Ravi Ashwin’s men could really do with maximum points to not only secure third spot but also fend off the growing advances of fourth-placed Kolkata Knight Riders.
The team from Mohali have faded away in spectacular fashion, losing four out of their past five matches. They also were defeated by RCB in their clash back in April, by a four-wicket margin.
Taking that into account and their wretched run, the odds are in RCB’s favours to reignite their charge, especially with two lynchpins: Kohli and AB de Villiers, capable of seeing the hosts to victory much like they did chasing 182 against the Daredevils.
Batting strong but bowling woes
While both KL Rahul (537 runs) and Chris Gayle (332 runs) have performed excellently with the willow and all too often carried this KXIP team, their bowling attack has lacked the depth and potency required.
Aside from standout Andrew Tye, who has 20 scalps in the competition, and the rich form of spinning prodigy Mujeeb ur Rahman, Ashwin and Axar Patel have struggled to break important and often match-winning opposition partnerships while reserve pacers Barinder Sran and Mohit Sharma have gone for runs, showing little clinical edge.
Similarly, RCB’s contingent with the ball haven’t hit their strides consistently but perhaps captain Kohli himself is as guilty as anyone for that having often chopped and changed his bowling line-up to varying degrees of success.
Both Yuzvendra Chahal and Umesh Yadav have played in all the matches so far, taking 24 wickets between them, with the Indian duo having the capability of swinging the game in Bangalore’s favour if they can muster an early spree against the top-order.
At Indore, RCB will need to rely on that with both Chris Woakes and Tim Southee proving a bit hit and miss in spite of their wholesale international experience.
Royal Challengers Bangalore Squad from:
Virat Kohli(c), AB de Villiers, Sarfaraz Khan, Brendon McCullum, Chris Woakes, Colin de Grandhomme, Moeen Ali, Quinton de Kock, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Manan Vohra, Kulwant Khejroliya, Aniket Choudhary, Navdeep Saini, Murugan Ashwin, Mandeep Singh, Washington Sundar, Pawan Negi, Mohammed Siraj, Parthiv Patel, Aniruddha Joshi, Pavan Deshpande, Tim Southee, Corey Anderson
Kings XI Punjab Squad from:
Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin(c), Yuvraj Singh, Karun Nair, Lokesh Rahul, Chris Gayle, David Miller, Aaron Finch, Marcus Stoinis, Mayank Agarwal, Ankit Rajpoot, Manoj Tiwary, Mohit Sharma, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Barinder Sran, Andrew Tye, Akshdeep Nath, Ben Dwarshuis, Pardeep Sahu, Mayank Dagar, Manzoor Dar