DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Ravindra Jadeja put up a brilliant all-round performance as struggling Chennai Super Kings started the second half of the Indian Premier League with a 20-run victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad on Tuesday.
Jadeja played a little cameo of 25 runs off 10 balls which lifted Chennai’s total to 167-6 after Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s team batted first for the first time this season.
The left-arm spinner then got the key wicket when he clean bowled Jonny Bairstow midway through the innings and also held two catches in the deep as Hyderabad were restricted at 147-8.
“This was one game as close to perfect as possible,” Dhoni said. “You keep winning the games, the points table will take care of itself. No point looking at the table, but we’ll still look at what we can improve.”
Chennai could win only two of its first seven games while chasing down the targets, but Dhoni’s decision to bat after winning the toss on Tuesday paid off.
Sam Curran’s (31 off 21 balls) elevation as a pinch-hitter went well for Chennai as the Englishman struck two sixes and three fours as opener.
Faf du Plessis went for his first zero in the IPL since 2014, but Shane Watson (42) and Ambati Rayudu (41) capitalized on earlier dropped catches to share 81-run third-wicket stand.
Both batsmen were caught at long off in successive death overs on low full tosses of fast bowlers Thangarasu Natarajan (2-41) and Khalil Ahmed (2-45) before Jadeja hit three fours and a six to proper Chennai’s total.
Dhoni’s ploy to add an extra bowler also worked well for Chennai. Fast bowlers Curran (1-18) and Deepak Chahar didn’t allow Hyderabad to attack in the first six overs of batting powerplay before spinners Jadeja and Karn Sharma tied down batsmen in the middle overs.
Kane Williamson top-scored with 57 off 39 balls with seven fours before he holed out in the deep in the 18th over off Sharma, who finished with 2-37.
Star leg-spinner Rashid Khan, who earlier couldn’t get a wicket, was out hit wicket when he flicked the offstump with his back heel while attempting a big shot against seamer Shardul Thakur (1-10).
“The chase didn’t take flight,” Hyderabad skipper David Warner said. “The wicket was a tad on the slow side, we wanted to take it deep, but this is what happens in cricket, you can’t win always.”
Chennai and Hyderabad both now have six points after eight games and are at No. 6 and 7 respectively on the points table.
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