Josh Hazlewood’s bowling of subtle movement and alterations in speed, length and angles is like a revolving door. You never know what’s in store.
Hazlewood, his run-up, load-up and release, in perfect harmony, proved a game-changer with three for 24 as Chennai Super Kings, restricting Sunrisers Hyderabad to 134 for seven, won by six wickets to ensure qualification in their IPL clash at Sharjah on Thursday.
With two runs required off three balls, CSK skipper M.S. Dhoni wristed paceman Siddharth Kaul over mid-wicket for a rousing six to deliver the winning blow.
Earlier, Ruturaj Gaikwad, all footwork, balance and timing, smacked Bhuvneshwar Kumar over mid-wicket for a six. It was excellent batting on a sluggish pitch where a few deliveries kept low.
Bhuvneshwar is not at his best in the IPL and Faf du Plessis smashed him over wide long-on. The CSK openers were up and running.
du Plessis moves around the crease, goes back to use the depth of the crease and also jumps down the track; off-setting the bowlers all the time.
Ruturaj (45 off 38) fell to seamer Jason Holder, attempting to clear the in-field. Moeen Ali promised much, but played on to leg-spinner Rashid Khan.
Holder made inroads even as the winning line was in sight for CSK. Suresh Raina fell to a yorker. And du Plessis (41 off 36) miscued a pull.
But then, when the intrepid Ambati Rayudu drove Kaul to cover fence and then clubbed Bhuvneshwar over mid-wicket for the maximum, it opened the winning door for CSK. And Dhoni shut it on Sunrisers.
In the first half, Hazlewood delivered telling blows with his stump to stump bowling. with subtle variations of pace and length and just enough movement on either side.
He dismissed influential opener Jason Roy, after CSK elected to field, with a delivery that moved away, extracted a false shot from Abhishek Sharma with a straighter delivery and had Abdul Samad slicing a widish yorker to point.
Dwayne Bravo took out Williamson, who played across one that nipped back.
Saha (44), he had pulled and off-driven Deepak Chahar for sixes, was another batsman who succumbed to the playing-across-the-line malice.
CSK then closed in like a hungry pack.