The game against Team Chennai may have gone to the final over but Team Hyderabad never really looked like defending 134. The batters huffed and puffed their way to a total that was well below par and their struggles continued. The bowling couldn’t contain the Team Chennai openers who once again gave the three-time champions a solid start at the top.
There was a small collapse from Team Chennai as they lost three wickets in seven balls. Jason Holder was the one who got two of those scalps in addition to his first scalp of Ruturaj Gaikwad. Rashid Khan chipped in as he tried to apply pressure from his end.
However, 134 was never going to be enough as Ambati Rayudu and MS Dhoni took Team Chennai home. It was a clinical performance from MS Dhoni and his men as they became the first team to qualify for the playoffs in this 2021 edition of the Indian T20 league. They now have 18 points and another win could well seal a spot in the top-two.
Team Hyderabad batting continues to mis-fire
It hasn’t been a great Indian T20 League for Team Hyderabad. This is for the first time since the start of the 2016 season that they will not be making it to the playoffs. It’s been a wretched season for them as all they have managed is two wins from 11 games and another loss could well see them finish with the wooden spoon.
One of the major reasons for their dismal run has been their inconsistent and mis-firing batting unit. While it was inconsistent in the first half, it has gone from bad to worse in this UAE leg. They have ended up with totals less than 140 three times out of the four games that Team Hyderabad have played in this second half of the season. The Kane Williamson-led side could post only 134/9 against Delhi while they fell five runs short in their run-chase of 126 against Punjab. They did manage to hunt down 165 against Rajasthan but the batting went on the downward spiral once again in this game against Chennai.
Wriddhiman Saha top-scored with 44 but couldn’t really force the pace while the international stars like Jason Roy and Kane Williamson didn’t get going either. Abhishek Sharma and Abdul Samad showed a bit of promise and struck a few meaty blows but failed to convert their starts. In the end, it was Rashid Khan’s 13-ball 17 that pushed the score to 134.
Team Chennai openers fire once again
Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis have been absolutely magnificent in this Indian T20 League 2021. Be it as a pair or individually, they have fired on all cylinders and are one of the reasons why Team Chennai have had so much success. They have more often than not set the tone at the top of the order and laid a solid foundation for the explosive middle-order batsmen to come in and capitalise.
Today was no different. Gaikwad and du Plessis added 75 runs for the opening partnership and almost ran away with the game for Team Chennai. The former contributed 45 in that stand and was the first one to get out while du Plessis added 29 and he went on to score another 12 runs before getting dismissed. They ran hard and constantly chipped in with a boundary here and there which did not allow the Team Hyderabad bowlers to pile on the pressure.
As a pair, Gaikwad and du Plessis have the most number of partnership runs in this season. They have put together 599 runs this season and average 54.45. They have shared a couple of hundred-run stands and four fifty-plus partnerships as well. Meanwhile, individually, both batsmen have gone past the 400-run mark for the season. Du Plessis has amassed 435 runs at an average of 48.33 and strikes at 138.09. Gaikwad has accumulated 407 runs at an average of 40.70 and has a strike-rate of 134.76. Plus, both of them are proper boundary hitters and individually have scored 40+ fours and 15+ sixes.
Team Chennai enter playoffs for the record 11th time
Team Chennai became the first team to enter the playoffs in this 2021 edition of the Indian T20 League. It is the 11th time that they have made it to the top four and the MS Dhoni-led side have played in only 12 out of the 14 seasons so far. Last year was the only year they had a hiccup apart from that, their consistency is unmatched.
No other team has made it to the top four as many as 11 times. Team Mumbai who are the next on the list have made it to the top four nine times out of the 14 seasons that they have played in. The others teams are not even close. Such has been the consistency of Team Chennai as they go in search of their fourth title.