A change in captaincy and opening partnership brought out the best from Chennai Super Kings as fifties from Ruturaj Gaikwad (99 off 57 balls) and Devon Conway (85 not out off 55 balls) propelled the defending champions to a massive 202/2 against Sunrisers Hyderabad at MCA Stadium on Sunday.
In a stadium filled with yellow jerseys, Gaikwad and Conway took apart a lethal bowling line-up with an outstanding 182-run opening partnership to put Chennai in the driver’s seat at the innings break. The 182-run opening stand between Gaikwad and Conway is also the highest partnership of IPL 2022 and also the highest stand for any wicket for Chennai in the history of the tournament.
For Hyderabad, T. Natarajan was the only bowler among the wickets with 2/42 as the side conceded only 49 runs in the last five overs after being blown away by Chennai’s left-right opening pair. Chennai was off to a blistering start, thanks to the opening pair of Conway and Gaikwad. After taking 46/0 in power-play, Chennai accelerated superbly, taking 7, 13, 14, 11, 15 and 17 runs in the next six overs.
The duo took full advantage of Hyderabad being forced to bowl part-time off-spin of Aiden Markram as main off-spinner Washington Sundar walked off due to an injury to his hand while trying to save a boundary at deep square leg.
The main aggressor in the acceleration was Gaikwad, who produced shots of sheer class to complete his fifty in the tenth over. Post that, Gaikwad unleashed carnage on Hyderabad, thumping Markram over long-on for back-to-back sixes.
The duo took full advantage of Hyderabad being forced to bowl part-time off-spin of Aiden Markram as main off-spinner Washington Sundar walked off due to an injury to his hand while trying to save a boundary at deep square leg, taking 36 runs off his three overs.
He continued to make merry against the raw pace of Umran Malik, with a glorious straight bat chip over mid-off for four followed by cleanly lofting over long-off for a six in the 12th over. Gaikwad was on course to reach his second IPL century but fell short by just a solitary run, slicing a slower, short ball off T. Natarajan to Bhuvneshwar Kumar at a backward point.
On the other hand, Conway picked up pace after starting slow. He reached his maiden IPL fifty off 39 balls in the 15th over, getting a top-edge on a pull-off Marco Jansen for six. He then thumped the tall left-arm pacer for another four and six to take 20 runs off the over.
Conway further slammed Natarajan for a six and two fours in the last three overs to help Chennai go past the 200-run mark despite M.S Dhoni falling for eight in the final over.
Brief scores: Chennai Super Kings 202/2 in 20 overs (Ruturaj Gaikwad 99, Devon Conway 85 not out; T. Natarajan 2/42) against Sunrisers Hyderabad