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IPL 2021 | CSK vs SRH: Hits and Flops as accomplishing Super Kings punish Sunrisers into disarray

Amid the unprecedented times and the unbearable havoc that the Covid-19 has wreaked upon India, the only thing normal is the Chennai Super Kings coming back to winning ways in the IPL.

Having won four of their first five matches this season, The Super Kings were quite a confident group coming into the contest against the Sunrisers Hyderabad, and it was telling in their approach while batting.

On the other hand, the Sunrisers were lacklustre once again with the bat and could post only 171 runs although the pair of Manish Pandey and David Warner scored individual fifties.

Here, we’ll decipher the best and the worst performances of the night.


Ruturaj Gaikwad

Ruturaj Gaikwad has started turning the trust, investments and all the hype surrounding him before he made his debut last year, into performances, a substantial one at that.

He had looked like a fish out of water when he was inducted into the middle order but with the continuous struggles of Shane Watson, the door just opened for him by the halfway stage last year.

The campaign ended as a nightmare for the Super Kings, but they were elated at finding a polished talent in Ruturaj Gaikwad and as always the Stephen Fleming-MS Dhoni was not lost in their vision to see the enormous value he could bring to the table.

He had started turning a corner by the last few matches of IPL 2020 but the start of the ongoing edition was a pleasant one for him and the CSK. However, the CSK team management is not short of patience in backing their players whom they believe can contribute, and Gaikwad is reaping full returns out of the opportunities.

Against the Sunrisers, he started off awkwardly against the control and precise length of Sandeep Sharma. Siddarth Kaul too induced an outside edge off his bat but he survived that chance too. Two moments of awkwardness was enough for the right-hander and then the long night began for the Sunrisers in New Delhi.

The powerplay yielded 50 runs but a majority of runs flowed off Faf du Plessis' bat and Gaikwad was at a run a ball 17. He had to amend his course or else the Super Kings would have had to struggle in the middle phase.

He was awake to the task and milked Jagadeesha Suchith superbly, first from the front foot and then waited for him to pounce from the back foot. On the very first ball he faced from the left-arm spinner, he was down to the pitch of the ball to whip it over midwicket for four and played with the mind of the spinner who was afraid of him getting to the pitch of the ball again. An attempted length ball was not executed well and Gaikwad pulled it over midwicket to stamp his authority on the spinner with wide-ranging shots in his repertoire.

Although he dominated Suchith, his best was yet to come and it came against none other than the trump card in the Sunrisers camp—Rashid Khan. Warner called upon Rashid to stop the impressive partnership from becoming carnage and he started well to stop the momentum. 

However, he too was to face the ire of Gaikwad and his mastery of bowling in-between lengths was well capitalised upon by the right-hander. After conceding only four runs in his first over, Gaikwad took him off for a boundary in his next but the champion spinner fought back to keep it to just 11 runs from his first two overs.

The carnage was well and truly on against Suchith though from the other end and three back to back boundaries off him established that the Sunrisers were out of the game by the end of the 12th over.

Whatever hopes they would have had was shattered in the next over when Gaikwad handed Rashid Khan a similar treatment he offered Suchith—a hattrick of boundaries. 

To be fair to Rashid, he got one to edge Gaikwad but only for Bairstow to spill the chance behind. But, Gaikwad did not let him settle and punished him for bowling short deliveries one after another to make it a flurry of boundaries.

Rashid came back again and hit his stumps beating him all ends up with a ripping leg break. But Rashid too would concede, Gaikwad won that bout of battle as he snatched away the game from the Sunrisers even in his four-over quota of bowling.

Faf du Plessis

Faf du Plessis has seen various phases of the Chennai Super Kings. He has been a veteran in yellow who first saw the opening pair of Murali Vijay and Michael Hussey dominating the bowling attack followed by the pair of Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith.

Then, he came to the forefront of the batting order with Shane Watson and also saw the worst season for the Super Kings last year where he and his opening partner struggled miserably to get going.

Having seen what has worked for the Super Kings in their heydays and not working with a diminishing MS Dhoni last year, du Plessis has batted with absolute freedom at the top after finding his form just at the right time.

On the night against the Sunrisers, it was him who took the onus on himself to get the Super Kings going while Gaikwad took some time to get going. He started his onslaught with a signature down the track and drive through extra cover against Khaleel Ahmed. 

When the left armer returned with his second over, du Plessis was more ready and played a splendid drive through the cover using just his hands that Ian Bishop rated as ‘a thing of beauty' from the commentary box.

He scored his third fifty of this season from 32 balls and set up the chase for the Super Kings.

There were words surrounding his place in the team after an average season last year but Dhoni and Fleming stuck with him and the results are flowing off his bat in the forms of crips drives and rocketing aerial shots over the fielder.

Kane Williamson

Kane Williamson flourished and outclassed David Warner in the game of strike rate. Yes, you read that right.

Williamson, for the class and composure he brings to the batting crease can easily be classified as a defensive batsman or the one who could just anchor in a T20 innings. He does not get that luxury of setting up games batting at the top for the Sunrisers though.

But, Williamson has made a name for himself with whatever opportunities he has got in the IPL. On the night against the Super Kings, a completely different avatar of Williamson was to the fore as the Sunrisers struggled for the sluggish display of batting by David Warner and Manish Pandey—players known as T20 specialists. He walked out to bat only in the 18th over after the departure of Warner and was equal to the task from the second ball.

At the end of the 18th over, the Sunrisers were 138 and were facing the threat of ending up with an under-par score on a pitch that appeared to be true in nature.

Williamson had other ideas though and from a two-ball five, he jumped to a seven-ball 24 hitting Shardul Thakur from the midwicket part of the ground to the third man. He literally toyed with Sahrdul’s mind and Dhoni’s field placements to lead the Sunrisers to a score of respectability.

Williamson’s success with the bat will put enormous pressure on Warner to come up with the performance to lead the men in orange out of the deep slumber they find themselves in at the moment. Williamson, on the other hand, will keep chipping away with making most of the opportunities at whatever positions in the 14th edition of the IPL.


David Warner

For any batsman of this era in T20 cricket, staying at the crease for the first 102 balls of the tidal 120 balls in an innings without playing a match-winning innings is a terrible outcome. But, when that failing batsman is David Warner with all the flamboyance and all the shots of the game up his sleeves, it becomes a colossal failure.

Warner started off the innings for the Sunrisers, and when he was walking back to the pavilion on the first ball of the 18th over, he must have felt the whole weight of the world fell upon him. In his 55-ball innings, he could muster only 57 although he hit 3 fours and two sixes. 

What went wrong for him then?

The thing that has plagued Warner this season so far is his lack of intent and assertiveness at the crease. Against the Super Kings as well, he was static in the middle and did not take an aggressive approach against Jadeja as a proactive move and instead aired for them to commit a mistake. He hit his first six on the 89th ball of the innings and it spoke volume of his struggles in the middle.

He did not come to this edition of the IPL on the back of many games behind him as he was ruled out for the majority of the series against India due to injury. He played some match in the Australian domestic circuit but the spark and domination he bats with have been really missing from Warner this season.

Jagadeesha Suchith

Jagadeesha Suchith would understand the harsh reality of the game. He fell agonisingly short of becoming an unlikely hero that won the Sunriers their last game against the Sunrisers by hitting sixes in Chennai. In the following game, he was the culprit for the Sunrisers who opened up the tap for Ruturaj Gaikwad who was struggling for timing at a run a ball 17.

He was assigned the task of bowling the seventh over after the powerplay as Warner would have hoped to bring Rashid into the attack to go on a full-on choke mode. However, Suchith provided Gaikwad with loose deliveries on a platter and whatever pressure the bowlers have had on Gaikwad was let off in a span of three balls.

Suchith played the game against the Super Kings only because Abdul Samad has not recovered from his injury and the Sunrisers could show enough confidence in Abhishek Sharma. However, the next few games of the Sunrisers scheduled to be played on similar pitches, the Sunrisers selectors will have to take another call on whom they want to replace Suchith with.

The Sunrisers nosedived further to the bottom of the points table while the Super Kings have strengthened their grip on the table with a resounding comeback after a disastrous season last year.

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IPL 2021 | CSK vs SRH: What Experts said as Chennai rub salt on Hyderabad's open wounds

Chennai Super Kings are back on the top of the table after a thumping win over Sunrisers Hyderabad who are already struggling in this edition of the IPL to find any rhythm. CSK won by 7 wickets while chasing a target of 172 in 20 overs in Delhi on Wednesday. Openers Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis once again showed their class and put yet another 100-run stand for the first wicket. Gaikwad who continued his form in this encounter against SRH notched up 75 off 44 that included 12 boundaries before getting cleaned up by Rashid Khan. The Afghan spinner broke Gaikwad’s defence to send him packing. On the other side, Du Plessis carried on his purple patch with the bat and struck yet another half-century in IPL 2021. The right-hander scored 56 off 38 before getting trapped in front of the stumps by Rashid. CSK only lost one more wicket during the chase in the form of Moeen Ali’s dismissal who was caught in the deep by Kedar Jadhav off Rashid. The spinner scalped all the three wickets that went down. Later Ravindra Jadeja and Suresh Raina made sure that there were no more fall of wickets and the two left-handers took CSK over the line in the 19th over with 9 balls to spare. Earlier, David Warner after winning the toss opted to bat first. SRH lost Jonny Bairstow early in the innings but captain Warner and Manish Pandey steadied the ship for the side and put up 106 runs for the second wicket on the board. Both the players scored individual half-centuries but the Hyderabad side needed to push the scoring rate which was provided by Kane Williamson later on. Williamson’s late surge saw the New Zealand skipper scoring 26* off just 10 balls taking the total to 171/3 in 20 overs. Lungi Ngidi picked up a couple of wickets for CSK while Sam Curran got one. Sunrisers skipper Warner’s slow-paced innings was one of the reasons why the team wasn’t able to put up a total that could have created some problems for CSK. He did score 57 that came off 55 deliveries which had three boundaries and two sixes during the course. Captains’ corner SRH captain David Warner admitted that the way he batted became the reason for his team getting under pressure. “I take full responsibility for the way I batted, it was really slow, found a lot of fielders and I got frustrated. The way Manish batted was exceptional. Kane got us to a respectable total, but I take full responsibility as it was a total below par. I probably hit 15 good shots to the fielders, I couldn't do much about it. They are the ones that make or break your innings. It gets frustrating as a batsman when you find the fielders. We had 170 on the board but we couldn't take powerplay wickets and it's always tough (to come back) on a good surface like this,” Warner said. Warner lavished praise on Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis for the way the two batted and scored a 100-run stand during the chase to give CSK a steady start. “Their two openers batted really well, but we fought well in the end. Felt like you could squeeze a bit after those wickets but they were always ahead in the game. He (Kane) was going to bat four no matter what, that's where he bats, that is his job, just that I soaked up too many balls. It's about being positive, it's a good batting surface. We have a day game here as well. 170 is about a par total at night, but things could be different in a day game. From a batting perspective we need to find the gaps and need to be positive. We are a bunch of fighters. The guys will be hurt by this, but they'll be up and about,” he added. To everyone’s surprise, there wasn’t really much for the spinners on the track in Delhi and CSK skipper MS Dhoni too admitted that the ball was coming nicely on the bat and didn’t really have any spin on offer. “The batting was superb. But that doesn't mean the bowling was not good. It was a surprisingly good wicket. Whenever we come to Delhi we never expect a wicket like this. It was coming on nicely, there was nothing for the spinners as well.Good thing was there was no dew. Last night we felt 170 was just below par if there's no dew. Brilliant opening partnership. Addressing the problem (how the change from last season). Whenever you start the tournament, you may or may not face issues in playing XI. The earlier you settle the better,” Dhoni said. Dhoni also talked about how the players have taken up the onus on themselves especially after the team fared in the last edition of the tournament. “Overall if I have to sum it up, the players have taken more responsibility this year. You will be facing adverse things but ultimately it boils down to how each individual rises to the occasion and gives the extra 10 percent for the team. Last 8-10 years we've not changed a lot of players so they know our approach. Also we appreciate the players not playing a lot. Only way you can put it forward is having those nice interactions. Just try to have the frame of mind where if you get the opportunity you'll be ready. Keeping the dressing room atmosphere healthy is important,” he further added. Experts’ opinion Commentator Harsha Bhogle was of the opinion that SRH might have fallen short 10-15 runs but the total was still defendable especially after the kind of bowling attack they had in the lineup for the game against CSK. Harsha heaped praises for the way CSK went after the chase in Delhi. Boria Majumdar hailed the way CSk dominated the run chase. Boria also appreciated the efforts put in by Rashid who picked up three wickets during the course. Journalist Ayaz Memon had lavished praise for the CSK side and how the team looks balanced in all the departments. CSK will now face MI on Saturday while SRH would be up against RR on Sunday in Delhi.


IPL 2021: Shimron Hetmyer delighted to score maiden half-century for DC

It turned out to be a fascinating encounter between the Royal Challengers Bangakore and the Delhi Capitals with RCB snatching a one-run victory to go again go atop the points table. The run-chase looked like going in RCB’s favour until Shimron Hetmyer played a fascinating knock and got DC within touching distance of the victory target. In the end, captain Rishabh Pant smashed a boundary in the final delivery with 6 required, giving RCB a hard-fought victory. Hetmyer who scored his second IPL half-century looked in utter disappointment after the loss and was consoled by the rival captain Virat Kohli for a monumental knock. The southpaw remained unbeaten on 53 of a mere 25 deliveries but couldn’t quite get his side over the finishing line. Hetmyer said that it was very heartbreaking to lose the match after coming so close. "I felt we were in the game throughout the time I was in the middle. I felt very good tonight. I thought we could've gotten past whatever they threw at us. We tried our best to take the game as close as we could have, but I guess, it just wasn't our night. It was heartbreaking, to be honest. I really think we could have gotten there, but that's how cricket goes. You win some and you lose some and tonight just wasn't ours to cross the line. I think we have a lot to learn from this match," Hetmyer was quoted as saying in a media release from the franchise. Chasing a stiff target of 171 to win, the Delhi Capitals got off to a great start courtesy some brilliant shots from the blade of Prithvi Shaw. However, they lost some quick wickets which put them on the back foot and it was a partnership of 78 runs between captain Rishabh Pant and Shimron Hetmyer which got DC back into the game. It was not one of those fluent knocks from Pant as he took 48 deliveries for his unbeaten 58. However, Hetmyer hopes that he gets more opportunities to bat with Pant during the course of this IPL. "It's much easier to bat with someone whose game is just the same as yours and we run well between the wickets. We had batted together during a match simulation as well. It's always nice to bat with Rishabh and I hope that we continue to get a chance to bat with each other," the swashbuckling batsman said. Meanwhile, Hetmyer also expressed his delight at scoring his first half-century for DC. "It was a pretty satisfying performance for me. I have been trying to get a fifty for the team since last season and trying to do something spectacular for the team. We almost got there tonight. With having the backing of the team to go out there and explode and do my thing, I'm just looking to continue to play the way I know," Hetmyer said. DC’s next assignment will be against the Kolkata Knight Riders on 29th April.


IPL 2021: Jaydev Unadkat hopeful of a turnaround for RR in Delhi

Rajasthan Royals left-arm pacer Jaydev Unadkat is hopeful of the fact that the surface at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi will aid their cause as he feels that RR have a pretty balanced side with an ability to do well in different conditions. Unadkat who was pretty poor in the last three seasons has started off the 14th edition in a good manner. He mixed his pace well in the three matches so far and have bagged 4 wickets in 3 encounters. “It’ll be a good pitch. I guess the pitches are likely to be flatter, especially in the first few games here,” Unadkat said. “We have a balanced squad overall and I think adapting to new surfaces won’t be a problem. We’ve got the squad to do well in a variety of conditions and surfaces,” he further added. It hasn’t been the greatest of starts for the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL so far having lost 3 out of their 5 matches so far. After losing three in a row, Royals managed to eke out a victory against the Kolkata Knight Riders. They will look to gain momentum from this win and try to force their way back in the competition. They will be up against the defending champions Mumbai Indians tomorrow in the afternoon encounter. “It’s been a decent start to the tournament for us. The first game was a narrow defeat, the second game was a good team display and a wonderful win for us. We did sort of lose our way for a couple of games in between but now that we are back to winning ways, we’d like to continue this and build on this run,” Unadkat quipped. Royals certainly need some more wins under their belt to get back in contention for the playoffs berth. It’s still early days in the tournament with more than half of the tournament to be played which gives RR a realistic chance of clawing their way back in the extravaganza. “I personally feel that a couple more wins on the trot and we can get the right momentum going for us. We haven’t had that sort of a run yet but I feel it’s the right time for us to get back that momentum,” Unadkat concluded.


IPL 2021 Preview: Doused in criticism about captaincy, Pant seeks to fly like Morgan

Bhuvan (Amir Khan) in the film Lagaan swings the bat with full force, the ball is in the air and is eventually caught by Captain Russell but behind the boundary line. Bhuvan wins it after notching up a six on the last ball and helps his village to get exemption from paying taxes to the British Government. That’s kind of how it works when you are watching a Bollywood movie. The underdog always wins. But it isn’t that easy in real life, especially in the Indian Premier League when you are up against some quality bowlers. On Tuesday, Delhi Capitals captain Rishabh Pant was in a similar situation. He needed 10 runs off the last two balls against RCB to take his team over the line in Ahmedabad. A situation tailor made for a Bollywood thriller. He did get a boundary on the penultimate ball and needed a maximum on the last one but failed to hit it over the boundary line. DC lost by 1 run. Pant and his batting partner Shimron Hetmyer were despondent. Let us take you a little back as to what happened in this particular game. Chasing 172, DC were 92/4 in the 13th over when Hetmyer unleashed an onslaught against the RCB bowlers. He scored an unbeaten 53 off 25 while Pant remained not out on 58 off 48 but the youngsters failed to complete the task for their team. The two batsmen were consoled by the RCB team but they knew that just gave it away on what could have been one of the finest chases in the history of IPL. But as they say this game is cruel and it plays the balancing act with accuracy. Not so long ago, Pant had unfolded the kind of mettle he possessed. Some four-five months back, the Indian team was in Australia for the four-match Test series. We were initially trailing, were without our regular skipper, were racially abused and the players suffered bruises on their bodies. It was probably the toughest time that the Indian team had faced. But there were few young lads who were up for this battle on the cricket field and two of them were Pant and Shubman Gill. While Gill was unmoved by the bouncy tracks and some serious pace in Australia, Pant was in some different mood all this while. After almost getting written off prior to this series, the left-handed batsman was out there in the middle to prove that he belonged. His responsible partnerships with Cheteshwar Pujara and the carnage he had caused showed that the criticism had certainly paid off. Well, riding on some brilliant performances from the young brigade, the Indian unit completed a successful tour Down Under and won the Test series 2-1. A couple of months later, Pant was handed over DC’s captaincy after skipper Shreyas Iyer ruled out of the cash-rich league. But this added responsibility has certainly pushed Rishabh on the backfoot as far as his batting is concerned. DC are placed at number three in the points table with four wins and just two defeats in the six matches that they have played but Pant hasn’t been firing yet especially in the way that he does while his captaincy has also come under scrutiny. The wicket-keeper batsman though has been among some runs in the past couple of matches but a knock of his calibre still awaits. Coming to Kolkata Knight Riders, the Eoin Morgan-led side defeated Punjab Kings in their last encounter in Ahmedabad after facing some early hiccups during the chase of 124 runs. But captain Morgan and Rahul Tripathi steadied the ship for the side and took them to a win by 5 wickets. Delhi can capitalise The Delhi Capitals are probably one of the most balanced sides in the tournament. With experienced players like Shikhar Dhawan, Steve Smith, Amit Mishra and now back in the scheme of selections Ishant Sharma, the Delhi franchise is not really in a spot of bother despite a defeat in the last game. Apart from this the young bunch of cricketers including captain Pant, Prithvi Shaw, Kagiso Rabada, Hetmyer and Avesh Khan are always up for the task. The addition of Ishant and Axar Patel in the bowling department. The left-arm spinner produced some magical spell during the Test series against England in Ahmedabad earlier this year and would be looking to replicate that. A couple of things that they need to focus on for now is Pant’s batting and Marcus Stoinis’ form. DC are in definite need of their captain’s blazing knock as soon as possible because this would help the aggressive batsman get in the groove himself. He has scored runs in the two matches but only needs to be confident about his abilities and back that special hand-eye coordination that he has. Stoinis might not be in very good form but he has the ability to deliver with both bat and ball and needs to be persisted in the side for now. Nevertheless, the Capitals look pretty stable with their side at the moment and they certainly don’t need any changes in the XI for now. KKR’s batting woes Kolkata Knight Riders might have won the match against Punjab Kings but the early hiccups in the chase were a sign of how Morgan’s side needs to put the right pieces in the puzzle. Either their top order has failed to fire or if the youngsters have chipped in, the experienced batsmen in the middle order like Andre Russell, Morgan, Dinesh Karthik and Shakib Al Hasan have failed to capitalise barring some instances. Opener Nitish Rana started off the season on a good note but has lost the touch in between while his opening partner Shubman Gill has been struggling to get any form. The two for sure have the capability to give KKR a positive start consistently. Rahul Tripathi has been in a decent touch. He in fact played a crucial knock in the last match against the Punjab team and stitched a responsible stand with captain Morgan to get his side out of trouble from a tricky situation. The bowling unit is back in some good knick. Youngsters like Shivam Mavi, Prasidh Krishna have been impressive while Pat Cummins, Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy also produced some good spells of bowling in the last outing. Kolkata surely need their batting order to go into and huddle and discuss about the roles of the players while they are out in the middle. As far as bowling is concerned, Morgan can go ahead with the same lot for now. Match Details Match: DC vs KKR, 25th Match, Indian Premier League 2021 Date: Thursday, April 29, 2021 Time: 7:30 PM Venue: Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad Pitch and Toss On Tuesday, RCB captain Virat Kohli did talk about the dew factor in Ahmedabad and said that both him and Pant thought there would be some amount of it. But before the start of DC’s chase, there was an occurrence of a sandstorm which might have nullified the presence of the dew. Nevertheless, DC and KKR can expect some dew when they go head to head against each other on Thursday. Coming to the pitch, there have been two totally contrasting matches. One saw a few runs scored around the park while the other witnessed almost a drought. The track at the Narendra Modi Stadium can possibly help the spinners but the dew factor can help the chasing team take the upper hand. If you win the toss, bowl first. Team News Delhi Capitals Shimron Hetmyer got some form back during the game against RCB while Ishant Sharma and Axar Patel exceedingly well after being drafted back into the side. Axar’s impressive spell against England in the Test series is still fresh and he too would be looking to be among the wickets asap. Kolkata Knight Riders Captain Eoin Morgan took charge of the situation when his team was in a spot of bother against Punjab Kings and led them to victory eventually. The bowling attack has been in good shape and can trouble the opposition on their day. Probable XI DC Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant (c & wk), Steven Smith, Shimron Hetmyer, Marcus Stoinis, Axar Patel, Amit Mishra, Kagiso Rabada, Ishant Sharma, Avesh Khan KKR Nitish Rana, Shubman Gill, Rahul Tripathi, Sunil Narine, Eoin Morgan (c), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Andre Russell, Pat Cummins, Shivam Mavi, Prasidh Krishna, Varun Chakravarthy Fantasy XI Rishabh Pant, Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, Rahul Tripathi, Prithvi Shaw, Andre Russell (C), Axar Patel, Pat Cummins, Kagiso Rabada, Avesh Khan, Sunil Narine (VC)