David Warner struggled for timing for nearly 18 overs which restricted Sunrisers Hyderabad to a below-par 171. A 129-run partnership between openers Faf du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad allowed Chennai Super Kings to soak up the fall of three quick wickets and coast to a facile win.

Warner huffs and puffs

How often would Sunrisers Hyderabad’s fans have wished for David Warner to get out earlier than he did? Wednesday evening was one of those rare occasions. He sighed, he screamed, he shrugged, he looked skywards – and struggled to hit the ball as cleanly as he would have loved. It was in many ways a torturous stay for Warner until he got into his 40s, when he finally managed a couple of sixes. It proved a mirage though, as he once again fell into a lull. The SRH captain fell in the 18th over and his 55-ball 57 restricted Hyderabad to a below-par total.

Manish Pandey didn’t have as many problems as Warner, who couldn’t sync his bat-swing to the demands of the pitch and couldn’t find his timing all evening. Warner’s struggles looked even direr when Kane Williamson came on right at the end and smoked four fours and a six in his 10-ball 26 so easily that it might have made the Hyderabad fans wish that Warner’s dismissal had come a lot earlier than it did.

Often, the left-hander was early into the shot and would end up mistiming and squirting it. He kept going hard at the ball, as is his wont, which only added to his misery. He didn’t hide his frustration – a sigh of relief and a look upwards after hitting a six captured it. He tried desperately hard – retreating inside the crease or charging down the track – but nothing worked. The bat face kept shutting and the ball continued to elude the sweet spot. In all this struggle, though, Warner brought up his 10,000th T20 run and 200th IPL six.

His struggles were exacerbated by Chennai’s smarts. They took pace off the ball, slid it further away from him, making Warner reach out – the width that he would have relished on a normal day became a struggle to reach. Chennai fielded well too, particularly the boundary riders, splicing potential boundaries to twos. The noose kept tightening on Warner until he finally succumbed.

Unlike Warner, Williamson didn’t go too hard at the ball; instead, he got into smart positions – either around off, or a couple of steps down the track – and timed the ball into gaps to give a semblance of hope to Hyderabad.

Chennai whistle to victory

Gaikwad and du Plessis had no problems with the pitch or the bowling, which was average. Hyderabad were short or wide, often both, and the pair prospered without much fuss. Du Plessis smashed it on the up, Gaikwad kept driving them to disarray and Hyderabad didn’t have many answers. Even Rashid Khan was guilty of bowling short and runs kept flowing as Hyderabad succumbed to their fifth loss in six games.