Chennai Super Kings move to No 1

Thursday, 29 April 2021 | PTI | New Delhi

Ruturaj Gaikwad’s cool quotient blended beautifully with Faf du Plessis’ flamboyance as Chennai Super Kings outsmarted Sunrisers Hyderabad by seven wickets in an IPL match, here on Wednesday.

Gaikwad was calmness personified as he tore apart the Sunrisers attack during his 75 off 44 balls after Du Plessis (56 off 38 balls) launched the initial assault, making a target of 172 looking easier than it actually was.

The win was CSK’s fifth on trot which helped them leapfrog Royal Challengers Bangalore to the top of the table while Hyderabad stayed at the bottom.

If Du Plessis shimmied down the track to loft left-arm spinner Jagadeesha Suchith over long-on for a six, Gaikwad would rock back and pull him over deep mid-wicket for a boundary.

If Gaikwad’s inside out lofted boundary off Suchith over extra cover was a treat, the use of crease to back-cut the bowler off the very next delivery was equally delectable.

There was a stage at the end of the Powerplay, when Du Plessis had scored double the runs of his younger partner but before one could bat an eyelid, the Pune batsman was on even keel with the former Proteas captain.

And once both crossed 50, Du Plessis enjoyed Gaikwad’s repertoire of strokes from the best seat in the house.

The temperament was there for everyone to see and one would understand why MS Dhoni has been bullish about giving the youngster every possible opportunity despite a dry run at the start of the tournament.

A pitch that his skipper Dhoni had termed a bit tacky before the start of the match looked like a batting paradise. The dew did play its part but not an ounce of credit can be taken away from the batsmen.

By the time Rashid Khan (3/36) quickly accounted for Gaikwad after a 129 run opening stand followed by Moeen Ali and Du Plessis, SRH captain David Warner had a resigned look on his face.

Earlier, after opting to bat, contrasting half-centuries from Manish Pandey and skipper Warner along with a cameo from Kane Williamson ensured a decent 171/3 for SRH.

Warner (57 off 55 balls) and Pandey (61 off 46 balls) added 106 runs for the second wicket at the Kotla but it was Williamson’s 26 not out off 10 balls and Kedar Jadhav’s 12 off 4 balls which ensured a competitive total for SRH.

Lungi Ngidi was the best bowler for CSK, returning figures of 2 for 35 from 4 overs while Sam Curran (1/30) got the other wicket.

Warner, who passed 10,000 T20 runs during the course of his innings, appeared frustrated at times at the inability to force the pace on a track where ball wasn’t always coming onto the bat.

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