SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Three-time champions Chennai Super Kings qualified for the Indian Premier League playoffs after beating Sunrisers Hyderabad by six wickets on Thursday.
Chennai missed out on the IPL playoffs last year, but has rebounded this season with nine wins from 11 games. Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men in yellow could go into playoffs finishing top of the table with three league games still in hand.
Hyderabad’s struggles this season continued as it limped to 134-7 with Josh Hazlewood (3-24) and experienced Dwayne Bravo (2-17) sharing the bowling honors after Dhoni won the toss and opted to field.
Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja (1-14) also bowled well on a slow and low wicket and had the wicket of top-scorer Wriddhiman Saha (44) when the batter top-edged a pull to Dhoni behind the stumps.
Ruturaj Gaikwad (45) and Faf du Plessis (41) featured in a half-century opening wicket stand before Chennai reached 139-4 when Dhoni hoisted six over mid-wicket.
Chennai has been in prolific form this season and recorded its fourth successive victory since the league resumed in the United Arab Emirates after being suspended due to a COVID-19 outbreak in India in early May.
Gaikwad missed out on a half century when captain Kane Williamson leapt at mid-off and took an overhead catch but not before the batter had put on a beefy 75-run partnership by the halfway mark.
Afghanistan’s leg-spinner Rashid Khan (1-27), who was hammered for a six and four off his first two deliveries by Gaikwad, bowled Moeen Ali in his last over. Jason Holder (3-27) then dismissed both Suresh Raina and du Plessis in the 16th over before Ambati Rayudu (17 not out) and Dhoni (14 not out) finished off the game.
Hyderabad, out of playoff reckoning, is lying at the bottom of the table with only two wins from 11 games.
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