Shane Watson’s rollicking 96 from 53 helped defending champions Chennai Super Kings march towards a six-wicket win against Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League on April 23, thus enabling them to maintain their speckless home record this season.
Earlier, the immensely talented Manish Pandey was back in his element as his unbeaten 83 off 49 balls powered the Sunrisers to a fighting 175/3 after they were put into bat.
Pandey and the league’s current leading run-scorer David Warner (57 off 45 balls) added 115 runs for the second wicket to lay the foundation for a competitive total on what was the best batting track on offer at Chepauk.
Shane Watson in action for the Chennai Super Kings during his innings of 96 (source – AP)
With his match-winning knock, Watson brought back memories of last year’s IPL final – in which he smashed an unbeaten 117 against the Sunrisers – and put the Super Kings on the verge of a spot in the playoffs.
A 77-run stand for the second wicket between Watson and Suresh Raina created an ideal platform, after which the former Australian all-rounder upped the ante and almost single-handedly decimated the Sunrisers attack.
What made it more difficult for the Sunrisers was the fact that their strike bowler Rashid Khan was also at the receiving end of Watson’s firepower, as the young Afghan spinner was taken for 44 runs in his four overs.
Medium pacer Sandeep Sharma was another bowler who was handed severe punishment, as he went for 54 in 3.5 overs. Sandeep repeatedly bowled short and Watson gleefully pulled him towards the boundary.
Skipper Bhuvaneshwar Kumar removed Watson in a tight 18th over, before Khaleel Ahmed conceded just four runs off the 19th over. This left Sandeep with nine runs to defend off the final over. However, Kedar Jadhav hit a six off the second ball, and despite the loss of Ambati Rayudu, the Super Kings sealed the win with a ball to spare.
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