Brief Scores: Sunrisers Hyderabad 171/3 in 20 overs (Manish Pandey 61, David Warner 57; Lungi Ngidi 2-35) lost to Chennai Super Kings 173/3 in 18.3 overs (Ruturaj Gaikwad 75, Faf du Plessis 56; Rashid Khan 3-36) by 7 wickets
The Chennai Super Kings have well and truly put behind the disasters of 2020, where they finished seventh on the table, with a fresh and attacking approach in 2021. The Super Kings registered their 5th win in a row in just six games and look all set to seal a playoffs berth. Sunrisers Hyderabad, on the other hand, have looked way below par and their issues have been compounded with the indifferent form of David Warner. Though the skipper reached his 50 against Chennai on Wednesday, he got there at almost run a ball, which did the team no good at the first match in Delhi this season.
Here are the talking points from the match between the Sunrisers Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings
David Warner is really struggling
David Warner, who had been out for the last few months due to a groin strain, has not had the best season this year – with both bat and as a skipper. The left hander struggled to middle the ball in the game against Chennai Super Kings, and it is evident that the Australian is feeling the pressure. One of the best batters in the history of the Indian Premier League, Warner has found the going tough this year, where he has scored 193 runs but at a strike rate of just 110.28. Warner faced 23 balls in the powerplay overs against the Super Kings and could only hit one four. For most parts of the innings, the cricketer batted with a strike rate of less than 100, and it crossed 100 only in the 15th over when he hit Lungi Ngidi for a maximum. He hit another six in the 16th over to get his fifty but the frustration was visible as Warner did not even raise his bat to acknowledge the dressing room. Though SRH got to 171 in the end courtesy Kane Williamson’s innings in the end, Warner did not shy away from taking responsibility for the loss.
“I take full responsibility for the way I batted, it was really slow, found a lot of fielders and I got frustrated,” he quipped after the game.
Faf du Plessis is on a mission
Faf du Plessis has had a great run as an opener for Chennai Super Kings, and has been instrumental in his team’s winning streak this year. Last year, when all the other batters failed, it was on Faf who impressed by playing aggressive knocks. In 2021, the South African has been giving his team fine starts, which have gone a long way in easing the pressure on the remaining players. This season, du Plessis averages a whopping 86.66 – his highest in any T20 tournament ever. He currently holds the Orange Cap and has a strike rate of 142.24. The way he approaches the batting powerplay and takes off the pressure from Ruturaj Gaikwad has been inspiring, and there is no doubt that if CSK are to win the title, du Plessis will have to remain consistent till the very end.
Manish Pandey finally gets a game and lives up to expectations
In a strange call, Manish Pandey had been dropped from the SRH line-up for the last two games. The Hyderabad team does not have the most experienced middle order, and though Pandey did not impress in the first few games, where his strike rate was poor, there was no reason why Pandey deserved to be dropped. After Virat Singh struggled in the last game, Pandey got a look in against Chennai, and made the best use of his chance. After the fall of the wicket of Jonny Bairstow, Pandey walked in at 22 for 1 and got going immediately with a four off just the second ball that he faced. He went for the runs at a brisk pace and hit two fours in the first seven balls that he faced, with a control percentage of 91 (according to Cricviz)> With Warner struggling at 38 off 43 balls at one end, Pandey was the aggressor and raced away to 33 off 24 balls with a strike rate of over 137. Overall, he scored 61 in 46 with the help of five fours and a six to help SRH near the 175-run mark.
Shardul Thakur could be rested after ordinary outings
After wowing the Indian fans with his batting and his bowling skills in the last few months, Shardul Thakur really seems to be struggling in the ongoing Indian Premier League. He has just managed to pick up four wickets this season at an average of nearing 53 and a strike rate of 32.7. His economy rate is at a high of 9.66 runs an over, and has not yet hit his top form. With Deepak Chahar, Lungi Ngidi and Ravindra Jadeja all controlling the run flow to perfection, Thakur’s troubles have meant that M S Dhoni cannot rely upon the bowler. The franchise does not have experienced Indian fast bowlers on the bench, though, if they do decide to drop Thakur. However, K M Asif and Harishankar Reddy have plenty of skills and had picked up six and seven wickets in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy earlier this year.
With Harshal Patel and Avesh Khan – two relatively inexperienced fast bowlers – leading the bowling attack for Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Capitals respectively this year, there is no reason why Reddy or Asif can not take up the role alongside Deepak Chahar, Sam Curran and Lungi Ngidi.