IPL 8: McCullum blasts Chennai Super Kings to second win


April 11, 2015

Brief Scorecard: Chennai Super Kings 209 for 4 (McCullum 100*, Dhoni 53) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 164 for 6 (Warner 53) by 45 runs

April 11, 2015

Brief Scorecard: Chennai Super Kings 209 for 4 (McCullum 100*, Dhoni 53) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 164 for 6 (Warner 53) by 45 runs

McCullum smashed 100 off 56 balls, helping Chennai post a massive 209 for 4 before cantering to a 45-run win. © BCCI

CHENNAI: Two men who had passionately played their parts in New Zealand's march to the World Cup final as teammates faced off against each other. Brendon McCullum, the epitome of positivity, up against Trent Boult, fast, furious and high on confidence, promised a captivating contest. But on the day, it was just a small subplot to a blockbuster innings in which McCullum overcame the heat and humidity of Chennai to essay a classic unbeaten century as Chennai Super Kings recorded their second successive win in the Pepsi IPL 2015 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Saturday (April 10).

Two nights ago, McCullum was dismissed off his second ball trying to attempt an audacious pull. As if to prove that had no effect on him, McCullum unleashed beast mode to bring Sunrisers Hyderabad to their knees in their first match of the season. His 56-ball unbeaten 100 that was studded with seven fours and nine sixes laid the platform for Chennai's imposing 209 for 4, which was 45 too many for Hyderabad, who kept fighting without getting a power boost at regular intervals. If not for David Warner, who made a valiant 53, the match may have been sealed much earlier. Hyderabad eventually finished with 164 for 6.

The day clearly belonged McCullum, whose command over the opposition was established soon after play began as he crunched Boult through cover for his first boundary. Thereafter, whatever he did turned to gold, and quite astonishingly, the surface that has tended to play a touch slowly was completely taken out of the equation very early in the piece.

The effect of McCullum's blitzkrieg was such that two outstanding run-outs by Boult and KL Rahul to dismiss the effervescent Dwayne Smith (27) and Suresh Raina (14) largely went unnoticed. But to say Chennai's innings was only about McCullum wouldn't do justice to their captain, who has been the subject of many debates recently over his death hitting being on the wane.

Quite clearly, MS Dhoni wouldn’t have been affected by any of that. With the luxury of batting with a platform set, he carefully played out his first 10 deliveries before using those magical wrists to unfurl his first boundary behind point. Three balls later, Bhuvneshwar Kumar was slapped over long-on, and soon enough, Dhoni was revving up the engine.

The ease with which he used the pace of the bowlers forced Warner to turn to Karn Sharma. But the move was met with ferocity as Dhoni launched him for three towering hits in the 18th over, to temporarily shift the focus away from McCullum, who at one stage looked set to make much more than what he eventually finished with. Dhoni's 29-ball 53 was all about muscle and clean timing as Chennai smashed 57 runs off the last four overs.

Ishant Sharma, returning from an ankle injury, was far from being consistent and was taken for 46 off his three overs, while Karn, the legspinner, had landing troubles and was taken for 51 off his full quota. Hyderabad were missing Dale Steyn, who had to sit out with the franchise preferring to go with three batsmen and Boult among overseas players.

In their chase though, Shikhar Dhawan began like a bullet train, smashing five boundaries in his 26 to give Hyderabad hope. But that was extinguished superbly by a trademark Mohit Sharma slower one as Ravindra Jadeja took a simple catch at short third man. Rahul then scratched around for seven deliveries before an attempted slog off a back-of-the-hand slower one deflected off the pad onto his stumps.

In taking two wickets, Mohit not only ensured the pressure was on Hyderabad, but also proved it was tougher for the batsman to adjust especially with the slower deliveries gripping the surface. That was vindicated by Ashish Nehra and then R Ashwin, as Hyderabad struggled to keep up with the asking rate despite Warner unsettling the bowlers with the odd big hit.

As hard as Warner tried, he was clearly hampered by the regular fall of wickets at the other end, which meant there was no rhythm to Hyderabad's chase. Naman Ojha and Ravi Bopara failed to connect, and the pressure having to do it all by himself consumed Warner as Dwayne Smith sent him back with a superb catch at deep midwicket off Ishwar Pandey.

That Kane Williamson, a proven performer at the top of the order, was forced to play some ungainly hoicks and slogs towards the end was a reflection of the hole they fell into.  In the end, the margin of victory exposed the wide gulf between both sides on an evening where power-hitting of the highest quality was on display.

Courtesy: Wisden India