Batting in the shadow of Michael Hussey, the Orange Cap holder, may have been a challenge for Suresh Raina. But the southpaw bashed away, upstaging his illustrious partner’s 42-ball 67 with an unconquered 99 logged in 81 minutes.
The two set the tone as Chennai Super Kings (CSK) inflicted a crushing 77-run defeat on Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) to end the latter’s unbeaten run on home turf at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Wednesday night.
When CSK was invited to bat, Hussey paid Dale Steyn the compliment of a maiden over. The run drought ended there and then as Ishant Sharma came in for some rough treatment, first from Hussey and then Vijay, the latter dealing three over-the-boundary blows on the trot beyond square leg and mid-wicket.
Vijay’s departure, caught behind by Parthiv Patel off Thisara Perera, gave little respite as the rampaging Hussey plundered runs at will, scourging the bowling with forearms like whipcord.
But for Steyn, the famed Hyderabad attack lay in tatters at his feet as the awesome Aussie spared no one. The assurance of his assault was so pronounced that he even went down on a knee to hoist Darren Sammy over the long leg railings.
It didn’t take long for Raina to join the duet and the left-handed duo made merry in the middle. If Hussey pillaged the bowling, Raina’s bat was the caressing sword. That was until the latter posted his half century. Thereafter Raina ran riot too, hoisting sixes or keeping the score ticking at the rate of a boundary-a-ball.
Relief came rather late as Perera uprooted Hussey’s off-stump, the crowd erupting just as the wicket did. M.S. Dhoni’s exit was as quick as his entry, little left to doubt as to his intent. Thankless as bowling at the death can be, Darren Sammy tried his bit to contain the carnage but by then the cause had been lost.
Sunrisers’ run-chase was a display in faltering feebleness, but for resistance from Parthiv Patel (44), Karan Sharma (39 not out) and Perera’s 23.