CSK vs SRH, IPL 2019: Shane Watson shines as Chennai beat Hyderabad by 6 wickets
“Come on Chennai, let’s make some noise!” It was indeed a tough day for the DJ at the MA Chidambaram Stadium here on Tuesday. Urging the crowd to back the hosts throughout Sunrisers Hyderabad’s innings as David Warner (57) and Manish Pandey (83*) smashed boundaries at will, he received little in terms of engagement from the fans. Despite the stadium a sea of yellow as it usually is when CSK play, there was something different — the madness that engulfs the arena was missing.
And facing a 176-run target, the highest CSK have been asked to scale at home this season, didn’t help the cause either. But little did he perhaps know that for the second half of the night, it would take minimal efforts on his part to keep the crowd buzzing in humid conditions. If falling to 8/1 after three overs raised some concerns that the hosts were to lose their first game at home, Suresh Raina and Shane Watson erased that with two perfect T20 knocks.
Although the chase went down to the wire, CSK never looked in trouble, chasing down the target with a ball to spare, reaching 176/4.
After Faf du Plessis fell early, Raina started by smashing the second ball he faced for four and followed it up with four boundaries and a six off Sandeep Sharma in the sixth over. He even approached the wily Rashid Khan in a similar manner, only for the latter to trump him; the leggie lured him into stepping down the track. Raina missed the line and keeper Jonny Bairstow did the rest.
Watson, who let Raina don the aggressor’s role until then, took charge and toyed with the bowling, especially Sandeep Sharma and Rashid. Though the pair picked two wickets, it leaked 98 runs in 7.5 overs between them, ruining the good work by Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Khaleel Ahmed upfront.
Watson studded his knock with nine fours and six sixes but by the time he fell, four short of what would have been a deserved hundred, he had taken the match beyond Hyderabad’s reach. Batting on 37 off 31 at one point, the gear change saw him score 59 off the last 22 balls he faced — an onslaught that seemed to disrupt everything stand-in skipper Bhuvneshwar had in store.
Earlier, while it was a grand start for the hosts, Pandey turned the script in style by joining Warner. Neither took too long to shrug off the early jitters as they lofted Harbhajan Sngh for two towering sixes in the fourth over and then smashed Deepak Chahar for two boundaries in the fifth. The intent was there for everyone to see. On the low-scoring pitch, as suggested by earlier matches this season, get as many runs on board in the powerplay.
Unlike his dismal shows with the bat so far this season, having scored 54 in five innings, Pandey took a more aggressive approach, the one that had brought him two centuries in the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament this season with Karnataka. Reaching 50 in 25 deliveries, he proved an able ally for Warner, who notched his seventh half-century of the IPL. It was the 72-ball 115-run stand between the two that laid the platform for Sunrisers, and although they had put enough on the board by Chepauk’s standards, the hosts knew exactly what was required to sail through.