Sunrisers Hyderabad suffered a heart-wrenching two-wicket defeat at the hands of Chennai Super Kings in the first qualifier of IPL 2018 on Tuesday (May 22). Even though SRH batsmen put on a terrible batting show, the bowlers kept them alive in the match for the most part.
Defending a below-par total of 139, Hyderabad bowlers made life difficult for CSK with Siddarth Kaul and Bhuvneshwar Kumar reducing them to 24/3 in 3.4 overs. Leg-spinner Rashid Khan then stepped up to the plate and got rid of Dhoni and Bravo in quick succession.
CSK were tottering at 113/8 before Faf du Plessis went berserk and smashed Carlos Brathwaite for 20 runs in the 18th over to change the course of the game. Shardul Thakur, who had a terrible outing with the ball, smacked Kaul for 17 runs in the penultimate over to almost seal the deal for CSK.
Needing 6 runs in the final over, Du Plessis deposited the very first ball of Bhuvi for half a dozen to secure the thriller for CSK. While Faf remained unbeaten on 67 runs off 42 balls (5 fours and 4 sixes), Thakur played a great hand of 15* runs in just 5 deliveries.
Speaking after the match, SRH skipper Kane Williamson defended his decision of picking Brathwaite to deliver the 18th over.
“Yeah, certainly we backed Carlos with his death bowling. That’s why he’s in this side, as another death option. Unfortunately, that’s the game we play and when you’re under pressure sometimes life gets a little bit tough and credit to the way Faf batted, he batted beautifully,” Williamson quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.
Despite having the options to bowl Bhuvneshwar and Kaul, Williamson surprisingly went for Brathwaite, who was playing only his second match in IPL 2018. No wonder, the cricket fans and experts were shocked by this decision.
“Yeah, both [Bhuvi and Kaul] are great. In terms of spinners on that surface, you always weighing up I guess who to go with and for us we have such good seam death bowlers and we always back those guys. So it’s a balance but you just weigh it up on the right surface. If it stops and turns then sometimes that spin option is nice to have. It was offering a little bit for the spin, but they had to bowl well to get it out of it so we’re backing our seamers,” Kane asserted.
“In terms of choosing between those two, they are both very good operators. Siddharth in his over before executed beautifully so we wanted to keep that rhythm going. And you know a few near misses and a little bit of fortune, a few edges and that’s sort of the way it goes,” he added.
Earlier, SRH managed to put on only 139/7 in their 20 overs after being put into bat. Williamson stated his side could have batted smartly to fetch those 10-15 extra runs.
“I think with the bat, we could have taken some better options in order to get maybe another 15/20 on that surface. I think we could have taken a few smart options to get a bit more on the board. But the way we fought back with the ball…,” he remarked.
Williamson rued the edgy cameo of Shardul Thakur at the fag end of the innings which eventually shunned the doors for SRH.
“A few balls here and there, and at the death I think, when it’s a low scoring game, a couple of edges… you know, it’s such a fine line. It was just a shame. We always backed ourselves to close games out from that point, but saying that there’s a number of other areas that we would like to touch on going into our next game,” Williamson said.
“Death bowling for us is a strength, but today CSK played well and showed their depth with the bat. Obviously, Thakur coming in and he can obviously hit the ball a bit as well and proved to be effective. Frustrating, but we’re off to Kolkata and it’s important we show some signs of improvement there,” he concluded.