CSK beat SRH. (Source: BCCI)

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) marked their return to the top of the table after registering a comfortable victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in Match 23 of the VIVO Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi on Wednesday.

Chasing 172, CSK openers continued their rich form and got off to a flying start, being in control of the proceedings right from the beginning.

A display of timing and class from the CSK openers – Ruturaj Gaikwad (75) and Faf du Plessis (56) at the top comfortably helped Chennai chase down the target before SRH scored 171/3 on board.

du Plessis took charge of the big-hitting while Ruturaj kept knocking the ball and provided the majority of strike to his partner at the other end.

CSK were dealing in boundaries as du Plessis attacked Khaleel Ahmed and Siddharth Kaul, creaming two fours each as the opening pair completed their fifty partnership inside the powerplay.

Ruturaj then took over and started accelerating as the right-hander smacked two fours off Suchith, who was bowling his first over. CSK continued to go after the left-arm spinner after Suchith conceded 17 runs in the 9th over of the innings, including two fours and a six.

SRH were forced to bring in Rashid Khan into the attack as they were still searching for that first wicket but the opening duo continued adding runs on the board, with CSK 91/0 after 10 overs.

Both batsmen slammed half centuries and SRH were struggling to bowl in the presence of dew. Ruturaj shifted gears and further hurt Suchith’s spell after hitting three fours in an over.

The right-hander then hit three additional fours against Rashid before the right-arm spinner disturbed the timber of Ruturaj with a googly and provided SRH their first wicket.

Moeen Ali, who was in next, played fearlessly right from the start as CSK were closing in to the target. The left-hander smashed three boundaries but Rashid scalped 2 wickets in 2 balls in the final over of his spell. While Moeen holed out to long-on, du Plessis was trapped in front.

With just 22 runs required off the final four overs, Raina and Jadeja comfortably got the team over the line and scored four boundaries between the two as CSK chased down the total in the 19th over, winning the game by 7 wickets.

Earlier, SRH elected to bat first, with both teams making two changes each – Ngidi and Moeen replaced Bravo and Tahir while Sandeep and Manish replaced Abhishek and Virat in their respective sides.

Bairstow was given an early life after he was dropped by MS Dhoni on the very first ball he faced in the innings and SRH had a watchful start, scoring 9 in the first two overs.

Warner and Bairstow struck a boundary each in the third over but Curran scalped the wicket of the right-hander after the latter tried to pull the delivery out of the park.

Pandey, who joined the SRH skipper added two fours to the total and the Sunrisers were 39/1 at the end of the powerplay.

The duo added 15 runs in the next two overs and were nudging the ball down for singles. SRH managed to stabilize the innings which encouraged Pandey to accelerate his pace as the right-hander clubbed a six against Moeen Ali in the 10th over, with SRH 69-1.

While Warner was struggling to slog, Pandey continued to play the big shots after he lofted Thakur straight down the ground to break CSK’s momentum.

Pandey slammed his half-century in the 14th over and SRH were eyeing a destructive finish with the bat. He was followed by Warner, who not only reached to his 50th IPL fifty but also smacked his 200th six in IPL.

Warner and Pandey brought the 100 partnership up for the second wicket before CSK bounced back with the ball. Ngidi scalped two wickets in an over to dismiss Warner and Pandey, both trying to clear the ropes. du Plessis took a terrific catch in the outfield to end Pandey’s stay at the crease.

Williamson seemed to be prepared for the task of finishing at the death as he smashed the ball right from ball one. The right-hander smacked three fours and a six off Thakur in the penultimate over that provided 20 runs.

Jadhav, who joined Williamson, finished the innings in style with a four and a six against Curran on the final two deliveries of the innings as SRH posted a competitive total of 171/3 in the first innings.

Brief Scores: Chennai Super Kings: 173-3 (Ruturaj Gaikwad 75, Faf du Plessis 56; Rashid Khan 3-36 ) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad: 171/3(Manish Pandey 61, David Warner 57; Lungi Ngidi 2-35) by 7 wickets.

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