Chennai, Apr 24: Age is mere numbers. It was proved once again by defending champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) as power hitting by opener Shane Watson (aged 37) carried the home team to a dominant seven wicket victory over Sun Risers Hyderabad (SRK) at the MA Chidambaram Stadium here on Tuesday night.
Chasing SRH's 175 for three, in a surprisingly batting friendly wicket, Watson feasted on the bowlers, before falling short by four runs for his second century of this edition, but ensured the home team seal its berth in the play offs. CSK romped home scoring 176 for four in 19.5 overs. It was incredible batting, as Watson struck nine fours and
six sixers in his 53-ball knock of 96 runs that put the CSK on its course for its fifth win on the trot at home and seal a berth in the play-offs.
His two useful partnerships helped CSK to take revenge for its earlier loss in Hyderabad few days back. Watson, mixing caution with aggression, first added 77 with southpaw Raina in 7.3 overs and then another 80 with Ambati Rayudu in a mere 7.1 overs, that was punctuated with his power hitting, to ease the pressure as CSK romped home with consummate ease, amid a bit of anxiety in the last over, in which Ambati Rayudu (21, 25 balls, 1x4) fell, before skipper M S Dhoni gave the finishing touches to win by a comprehensive six wickets.
Watson was all set to score his second hundred of this edition, before he top edged a slow bouncer off Bhunavesh Kumar to the keeper in th 19th over, triggering a close finish, especially after Rayudu's exit. But Dhoni gave the finishing touches, ensuring CSK's fifth win on the trot at home and sealing a place in the play off. Like the SRH start, the chase was not that rosy as CSK lost Faf Du Plessis early, but Shane Watson and Suresh Raina combined well to add 73 runs for the second wicket in 9.3 overs, as the duo overcame early blues to take a calculated risk against the bowlers.
It was Raina 38 (24 balls, 6x4, 1x6). who dominated the stand, before he was flummoxed by Rashid Khan's googly, but he put the attack in its place with his attacking instincts. Combining caution with aggression, he took the aerial route, before just slipping out of the crease against Rashid going for a drive and paid the penalty. But his stand with Watson, who in the process drove and pulled to reach his half century and also crossed 8,000 runs in T-20 matches, consolidated the innings,
to put CSK on course for a victory as he carted Rashid for two fours and a six in the game changing 14th over, pummeled Bhuvanesh Kumar to a pair of boundaries in the next to add pressure on the SRK bowlers, as the target narrowed down to 41 in the last five overs, before CSK won with consummate ease. UNI