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CSK marches ahead as a champion

Friday, October 1, 2021 • Tamil Sport News Comments

SRH: 134/7 (20 overs)

CSK: 139/4 (19.4 overs)

Player of the Match: Josh Hazlewood

It was a setting which was familiar to Dhoni’s die-hard fans in particular and Indian cricket’s fans in general. 2 runs needed of the final four balls; Dhoni played out the 3rd ball and the next ball, as they often say, was sent into the orbit and down to Sharjah’s traffic-busy streets as Dhoni freed his arms to launch into a monstrous pull, which was reminiscent of the shot that fetched India its second ODI world cup in 2011, exactly a decade back!

It was CSK all the way

Title-favourites Chennai Super Kings (CSK) became the first team to enter the play-off stages of the ongoing IPL in UAE. This is the 11th time in 12 years that CSK has made the play-off stage. It was certainly an aberration that CSK didn’t make the play-offs in UAE last year; ironically, it was the first team to exit the tournament last year and this year, CSK is the first team to officially qualify for the next stage!

Bowlers call the shots

CSK won the toss on a typically sluggish Sharjah pitch and asked SRH to bat first. Jason perished in the 4th over, knicking Hazlewood to Dhoni. SRH kept losing wickets at regular wickets to reach 74/4 in 12.3 overs before young guns Abhishek Sharma and Abdul Samad stitched together a 36-run partnership in four overs. Both, however, fell within a span of 3 balls as Hazlewood made it his day. He picked up 3/24 in 4 overs and was ably supported by Bravo (2/17 of 4 overs) and Jadega (1/14 of 3 overs).

Deepak had an off-day as he went for a few; so did Shardul but he picked up the dangerous Holder’s wicket. Rashid kept one end going as SRH finished at 134/7, a total which would hardly trouble CSK. To its credit, however, SRH bowled really well and took the game to the last over.

Faf, Gaikwad shine again

New batting superstar Gaikwad of CSK continued his rich vein of form with du Plessis. The duo added 75 runs in 10 overs before Ruturaj fell for a 38-ball 45. Moeen and Faf took the score to 103 in the 15th over, with CSK needing 32 runs in 32 balls. However, a mini-collapse (Moeen and Faf fell in succession followed by Raina). Within a few overs, CSK found itself needing more than the number of balls remaining.

Rayudu, MSD do it

Rayudu, often the under-stated warrior, once again showed how valuable he is to the side as he hit an important boundary and a six in successive overs to keep the required run-rate under control. His six off Bhuvi was a sight to behold but it was eclipsed by Dhoni’s six off Kaul in the final over.

CSK now plays Rajasthan Royals on Sunday while SRH has plenty to ponder about during the remainder of the tournament!

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