Chennai, April 24 (IANS) Shane Watson smashed a belligerent 96 as Chennai Super Kings zoomed back to the top of the table with a commanding six-wicket victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad in an Indian Premier League (IPL) clash at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium here on Tuesday.
Watson, who took 53 balls and hit nine fours and six sixes, missed out on a fifth IPL hundred as Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1/18) got his wicket.
But riding his devastating knock, CSK made light of a 176-run target after skipper M.S. Dhoni asked Sunrisers to bat first. CSK scored 176/4 in 19.5 overs.
For the visitors, Manish Pandey (83 off 49 balls, not out) and David Warner (57; 45 balls, 4×3, 6×2) struck half centuries.
CSK lost Faf du Plessis (1) early but that mattered little as Watson roared back to form on a day star spinner Rashid Khan (1/44) had an off day.
The former Australia opener forged a 77-run stand for the second wicket with Suresh Raina (38) and then shared a 80-run stand with Ambati Rayudu (21) to guide his team to a win after two losses win with one ball to spare.
Once Watson was out, caught behind trying to hook Sunrisers skipper Bhuvneshwar, the run-flow ebbed with CSK managing just seven runs off the last two overs hitting no boundaries.
In the last over, the defending champions needed nine. Kedar Jadhav (11 not out) hit Sandeep Sharma for a six despite Pandey’s brilliant effort on the boundary to save it but then Rayudu was out with one run needed off two balls.
Dwayne Bravo (0 not out) came to crease but did not face a ball as Jadhav completed the formalities.
Earlier, Pandey remained unbeaten on 83 with the help of seven fours and three sixes but could not lead his team to an imposing total as Sunrisers managed only 51 runs in the last six overs after Warner’s dismissal. Sunrisers managed 175/3 in 20 overs.
Warner cracked his seventh fifty this season as the dashing southpaw combined with Pandey for a 115-run stand for the second wicket which formed the bedrock of Sunrisers’ innings.
For CSK, Harbhajan Singh was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 2/39 in four overs.
The visitors lost Jonny Bairstow (0) — playing his last IPL game — early, as the England stumper-batsman was out caught behind trying to cut Harbhajan.
From there on, Warner and Pandey paced their innings perfectly as Sunrisers raced to 91/1 at the halfway stage.
Harbhajan removed Warner in the 14th over with a slower one which the veteran Australian failed to read and came down the track only for Dhoni to effect a brilliant stumping.
Vijay Shankar (26; 20b, 4×2, 6×1) then joined hands with Pandey for a 47-run partnership before holing out to Ravidra Jadeja at deep midwicket off Deepak Chahar.
Shankar never really got going and after he was removed, Yusuf Pathan (5 not out) also could not up the ante.
Brief scores –
Sunrisers Hyderabad: 175/3 (Manish Pandey 83, not out; David Warner 57; Harbhajan Singh 2/39) vs Chennai Super Kings: 176/4 (Shane Watson 96; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 1/18)