Mumbai Indians have won the toss and elected to bat as they look to cement their standing in the IPL 2019 playoff race in Thursday’s clash against Delhi Capitals.
Both teams are tied on 10 points, and Chennai Super Kings’ surprise loss to Sunrisers Hyderabad means the winner of Thursday’s game will move within two points of the table-topping Super Kings. But the breathing room in the fight for fourth place has gotten smaller, with Sunrisers joining Kolkata Knight Riders on eight points and just two points outside the top four.
Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla ground has been a bogey venue for Mumbai in the IPL, as the Indians have a winning percentage of just 30 there, and have won just three out of nine games against Delhi. The Capitals’ own home form hasn’t been great this season, with only one win in three games at the Kotla, and that too came courtesy of a Super Over.
Rishabh Pant starred in the previous meeting between the two sides this season, hitting 78 off 27 balls to lead Delhi to a 37-run win in Mumbai.
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David Warner was pleased to be back to his free-flowing best as Sunrisers Hyderabad ended a run of three straight losses with a dominant victory over Chennai Super Kings on Wednesday that got their IPL 2019 campaign back on track as they moved to within two points of the play-off places.
Set a low target of 133 after the Sunrisers’ bowlers restricted the Super Kings to just 52 runs in the last 10 overs of their innings, Warner and opening partner Jonny Bairstow made sure there were no hiccups with a swashbuckling opening stand of 66 from just 34 balls.
“Sometimes we have been a bit hesitant,” Warner admitted, after his previous two innings had brought substantial scores but at a slower strike rate – 51 off 47 against Delhi Capitals and 70 off 62 against Kings XI Punjab. “Against Kings [XI Punjab] the wicket was quite tough.”
Warner, who leads the IPL 2019 run charts, praised Bairstow’s contributions to their opening partnerships, adding: “Me and Jonny have been mixing and matching quite well. Here the wicket was two-paced.”
The England batsman’s 61 off 44 made sure the innings didn’t lose momentum after Warner fell and it was he who hit the winning runs, wrapping up the game with a towering six to put the seal on a comprehensive victory.
Bairstow credited Sunrisers’ bowlers for taking control of the game in the back end of CSK’s innings, and said the three-game losing streak had not worn heavily on the team.
“Fantastic effort by bowlers to restrict them to 60-65 in the last 11 overs. Not sure what changed but I think we were more ruthless today,” the wicket-keeper said, singling out Rashid Khan for praise after the leg-spinner’s 2/17 turned the game in Sunrisers’ favour.
“It’s challenging facing Rashid in the nets and keeping to him in the match.”
It was a sentiment echoed by Bairstow’s captain, with Kane Williamson delighted by Khan’s performance and the all-around display from his side.
“Rashid has been an outstanding performer for a number of years. He was brilliant today,” the Sunrisers skipper enthused.
“Very good performance all around. CSK started well with the bat but the way we performed in the back half was outstanding and the chase was superb. I don’t think the wicket changed too much. Warner was brilliant. A match-winning knock with Jonny.”
Williamson’s opposite number, Suresh Raina – becoming the first person other than Mahendra Singh Dhoni to captain Chennai since 2010, as Dhoni sat the game out with back spasms – was disappointed by his side’s batting display, as the Super Kings frittered away an excellent platform provided by the openers, who put on 70 together.
Chennai were 80/1 at the end of the 10th over and looking set to score around 170, but the new batsmen who came in after Shane Watson and then Faf du Plessis were dismissed failed to get going.
“I think we should have rotated the strike more,” Raina said. “That’s why we were 30 runs short.”
“But a great wake up call for us,” he added, as the table-topping Super Kings suffered only their second loss of the season.
Raina also provided an update on the fitness of Chennai’s talisman and regular skipper, reassuring CSK fans that their favourite player would be back soon. “Dhoni is fit now and might play the next game,” the veteran batsman confirmed.
The former India batsman was full of praise for the Super Kings’ own star leg-spinner, with Imran Tahir once again among the wickets and matching opposite number Khan’s incisive spell with figures of 2/20, though it wasn’t enough to help Chennai avoid defeat.
“Tahir has been giving us a lot of breakthroughs and he did it today as well,” Raina exclaimed. “Whenever you need a wicket, you throw the ball to him and he gives you a wicket.”
Sunrisers Hyderabad got their IPL 2019 campaign back on track as they cruised to a dominant victory over Chennai Super Kings.
The table-toppers were missing MS Dhoni due to back spasms, with someone other than the India veteran – Suresh Raina, in this case – captaining CSK for the first time since 2010. Without him, the Super Kings’ batting stuttered to post a meagre total of 132-5.
David Warner and Jonny Bairstow both scored 50s to make light work of the chase, which SRH wrapped up with 19 balls to spare in a six-wicket win that took them to within two points of the playoff spots.
CHENNAI BATTING STRUGGLES AGAIN
With Dhoni rested, all eyes were on the rest of the batting lineup. Other than Faf du Plessis, every regular batsman other than Dhoni averages under 26 this season, as CSK have relied on their captain and their bowlers for their outstanding start to the season.
Given the chance to step up in Dhoni’s absence, Chennai let themselves down. Du Plessis and Watson put on a 70-run opening partnership, but what followed was shocking. The Super Kings were 80-1 after 10 overs, and somehow managed to post a total of only 132. Even accounting for the slowness of the pitch, 52 runs off the last 10 overs was inexplicable.
Their efforts were put into stark contrast by the Sunrisers batsmen, with openers Warner and Bairstow leading SRH to an easy win. They’d knocked off the target within the powerplay, and even a two-wicket burst from Imran Tahir couldn’t help.
The 18th over was the 1st in which #CSK managed 10 or more since the 10th over.— Victor Tarapore (@VictorTarapore) April 17, 2019
In the intervening 7 overs, CSK managed 29/4 (?!) at a run rate of 4.14 RPO!
What pressure! What bowling by @SunRisers !#MakeStatsGreatAgain #SRHvCSK #RiseWithUs #SRH #Sunrisers #IPL2019 #VIVOIPL
RAYUDU VS SHANKAR AN ANTICLIMACTIC BATTLE
India‘s preliminary World Cup squad announcement provided one of the biggest talking points for this game, with Sunrisers’ Vijay Shankar picked ahead of CSK batsman Ambati Rayudu. Rayudu’s tweet on Tuesday, saying he’d order 3D glasses after India’s selectors said Shankar give the team “ability with the three dimensions”, added spice to the match-up.
Shankar doesn’t bowl much, but he did on Wednesday, and took the key wicket of Du Plessis with his second ball. In walked Rayudu.
He nearly chopped onto his stumps first ball, but this face-off ended up being anticlimactic. Rayudu scored four runs off five balls against Shankar, finishing with 25 off 21. Shankar’s two-over spell of 1-11 helped Sunrisers dominate the second half of the CSK innings, but his batting was disappointing – just seven off 11 balls, with no boundaries.
The two players exchanged a hug when Rayudu was batting. No hard feelings, then.
Vijay Shankar bowls to Ambati Rayudu, who almost chops it on to his stumps. Harsha on commentary, 'in how many dimensions did he see that?' Epic!— Joy Bhattacharjya (@joybhattacharj) April 17, 2019
Chennai Super Kings 132/5 (20 overs)
Faf du Plessis 45 (31)
Rashid Khan 2/17
Sunrisers Hyderbad 137/4 (16.5 overs)
Jonny Bairstow 61* (44)
David Warner 50 (25)
Imran Tahir 2/20
Sunrisers Hyderabad won by six wickets