IPL 2014 Results: Smith, McCullum Sparkle Again as CSK Edge Sunrisers
By Deepak Vikraman | April 28, 2014 4:07 AM EST
The Chennai Super Kings juggernaut just motored along its merry way, with the Sunrisers Hyderabad unable to make a dent, as the former champions rolled to a fourth straight in IPL 2014.
CSK have looked great from the beginning of the tournament, and the Chennai franchise just kept winning, picking up a five-wicket victory over the Sunrisers, who could not find their mojo with the bat, in Sharjah on Sunday.
Choosing to bat first, Hyderabad failed to put up a big score, with two of the top three failing to make an impression, which eventually saw them end up on 145 for five.
With Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum looking more dangerous than Lord Voldemort and Sauron combined, the total was made to look easy enough, notwithstanding a few hiccups towards the end, with CSK finishing on 146 for five in 19.3 overs and with it handing the Sunrisers a third defeat in four matches.
After seeing the Sunrisers huff and puff to 145, McCullum and Smith would have thought about taking it a little easy in the first few overs, on a pitch which did look difficult to score easily off.
Smith, though, is in the form of his IPL life at the moment, and the West Indian kept finding the middle of the bat time and again, even if he was lucky to survive in the second over, with an inside-edge off Bhuvneshwar Kumar sniffing the top of the bails without actually taking them off the groove.
Smith's belligerent sixes slowly came into view, while McCullum, after being initially starved of the strike, also found the boundaries at will.
Soon enough, the target was brought down to a mere 71 at the halfway stage of the innings, before McCullum (40, 33b, 3x4, 2x6), after smashing a six over extra-cover off Karn Sharma, was castled by the leg-spinner with the New Zealander failing to read the googly.
CSK, though, still needed only 61 from the last 54 deliveries, and with Smith at the crease, the target was quickly brought down to a mere 20 from 27 balls, despite Suresh Raina's (14, 10b, 1x4, 1x6) wicket in between.
Smith (66, 46b, 4x4, 5x6) fell looking to finish the game off as quickly as possible slapping a full toss off Bhuvneshwar Kumar straight to David Warner at long-off. Du Plessis was dismissed first ball, edging one to the keeper off Bhuvneshwar as CSK fell to 127 for four from 114 for one with the Sunrisers refusing to give up despite the low total and dew hampering their bowlers.
However, thanks to Smith and McCullum's early assault, CSK needed only 19 from the final four overs, with MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja (6, 9b, 0x4, 0x6) finding it difficult to get the scoreboard ticking at will.
Jadeja's wicket in the penultimate over, off a peach of a delivery from Ishant Sharma, made the game interesting again, with CSK needing six from the final over.
Dhoni (13 n.o., 14b, 1x4) is the calmest guy you can get in these situations, though, and the CSK skipper struck a boundary to get his side over the line.
Earlier, the Sunrisers Hyderabad struggled to 145, failing to build any kind of momentum as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals.
Shikhar Dhawan added another failure to his list of recent blows, with the SRH skipper pulling one straight to the fielder in the circle off Ben Hilfenhaus in the third over. The Australian bowler would make it two wickets in the same over, getting himself an lbw decision which should have never been given to dismiss David Warner, with the ball pitching outside leg and probably going over the stumps as well.
The Sunrisers just could not quite recover from those two early wickets, with Aaron Finch again playing a decent hand, but unable to carry on and find top gear when it was desperately needed. Finch built a decent partnership with KL Rahul of 52 runs from 7.5 over for the third wicket, but just when the two looked to crank it up a gear, Rahul (25, 27b, 1x4, 1x6) lost his wicket in the 11th over.
Venugopal Rao (13, 15b, 0x4, 0x6) was sent in ahead of Darren Sammy, and the experienced right-hander never really got going, only wasting too many deliveries and time in the middle, and perishing at one his first attempts at finding the boundary.
Finch, seeing a wicket fall every time he wanted to kick-on, got stuck in between a rock and a hard place, eventually falling for a 45-ball 44 (5x4), with Sammy 23, 15b, 2x4, 1x6) and Karn Sharma (17, 7b, 2x6) tonking a few at the end to take the score to 145.
With CSK's batting might, though, it was a total that was always going to be chased down.
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