His 85-run opening stand with McCullum provides an ideal launching pad against SRH
Domination was the dictum the Chennai Super Kings deployed to destructive effect, be it in bowling, where it stopped Sunrisers Hyderabad at 145 for five or in batting as it rose to the challenge with vigour.
Exhibiting this in ample measure was Dwayne Smith’s 46-ball 66.
Embellished with four boundaries and five hits over the ropes, that knock broke the back of the Hyderabad attack and set up a comprehensive victory, with five wickets and three balls in reserve.Right earnest
The Chennai side’s chase began in right earnest, openers Smith and Brendon McCullum calling the shots right from the start. In just over half a dozen overs, the team’s fifty came up with the pair showing no signs of easing the pressure on the pedal.
Ishant Sharma dared to sling a steepler at Smith, a seasoned hand with the short-pitched stuff and coming from a land where quicks are commonplace. The Caribbean cavalier simply moved into position to dispatch the ball over the mid-wicket railings. McCullum (40, 33 b, 3 x 4, 2 x 6) struck Karn Sharma for a six, but the wrist-spinner exacted revenge off the very next ball, foxing the Kiwi with a googly.
Cheap dismissals of Faf du Plessis and Ravindra Jadeja were but blips. With six runs needed from as many balls, M.S. Dhoni, a specialist for such occasions, assumed his avatar of captain cool to notch up the runs required.
The Sunrisers ran into rough weather early into their endeavour. His penchant for the pull being well known, Shikhar Dhawan played into the hands of Manhas at mid-wicket off Ben Hilfenhaus.
The Aussie quick then trapped David Warner in front, leaving the Hyderabad side hobbling at 15 for two.
In what has become standard operating procedure for the Super Kings skipper, the bowlers were shuffled frequently as were their ends, none bowling more than two overs on the trot from the same end. It did impede Sunrisers’ batting to the extent that it never found enough rhythm to launch an assault on the bowling.
The scoring felt the impact for sure, more than three fourths of the innings gone before the side’s 100 could be posted. There was a visible change of gears thereon with Karn’s strike-rate soaring to over 300 at one stage!
While the Chennai squad went into the contest unchanged, Sunrisers inducted Ishant for Naman Ojha. The wicket-keeper batsman was given just one outing, where he didn’t get to bat either. His skills with the willow would have bolstered the Hyderabad batting, so far found more promising on paper than on the field of play.