Pune: Opener Ambati Rayudu smashed his maiden century in the Indian Premier League as Chennai Super Kings coasted to an easy eight-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad to virtually seal a play-offs berth here on Sunday. CSK has nearly qualified for the playoffs now.
Rayudu's 100 and Dhoni's hand towards the end meant CSK were comfortably past the target with an over to spare. Chennai's openers accumulated 134 runs inside 14 overs.
Buttler's blazing blade created a lot of damage in the initial overs as he hit a flurry of boundaries and sixes. Rayudu was casually so. He nearly had Dhoni robbing him the milestone, before the skipper took a single with the team needing 2 and Rayudu needing a single to reach the three-figure mark. Watson went after young Sandeep Sharma and Bhuvneshwar, racing to 26 off 13 in three overs. The second, he pulled over deep midwicket. Rayudu jumped across to off stump and clipped a Bhuvneshwar delivery through square leg to get there. The Aussie fell short of the crease as he looked too exhausted and made his descent towards the pavilion straight away.
Watson began the aggression but Rayudu wasn't too far behind. He added 43 runs with skipper M.S. Dhoni for the unbroken third wicket.
Hyderabad became the first team to qualify for the knockout stage with a brilliant nine-wicket win against Delhi Daredevils, thanks to their talismanic captain Kane Williamson and Shikhar Dhawan as the duo eclipsed Rishabh Pant's magnificent century. Their batting appeared casual. His batting practice would just be about going after the bowlers and hitting the ball in to the stands.
MS Dhoni will be hoping his bowlers can stand up to the challenge in the Pune heat. For CSK, Deepak Chahar, who was nursing an injury, has made a comeback to the team, replacing Karn Sharma in the team. He bowled his four overs on the trot.
On Sunday, the returning Deepak Chahar led Super Kings' efforts with the ball, getting it to pitch in the length and back-of-a-length zones and getting it to hoop around during the Powerplay.
There have been questions asked about Williamson's T20 game in the recent past, but since then, suffice it to say that he has answered them with his consistency at the global level and now, the IPL. "Had we got him earlier the result could have been different", CSK's coach Stephen Fleming said after his side lost by four wickets. CSK are the only team with fours batsmen that have scored more than 300 runs- Watson, Dhoni, Raina and Rayudu are all amongst the runs which is a heathy sign for the team.