What a wonderful exhibition of power hitting!
On Tuesday, April 23, night, Shane Watson (96 off 53 balls) went on the rampage against the Sunrisers Hyderabad bowlers.
Put in to bat by CSK Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Hyderabad were propelled, rather surprisingly, by some beautiful stroke play by Manish Pandey and leading opener David Warner, on a Chepauk track that played far better than what it had thus far.
Dave and Manish pummelled the CSK bowlers -- Spinners Harbhajan Singh and Imran Tahir in particular received a lot of stick going over 9 runs an over.
The Pandey-Warner combine put on 115 runs for the second wicket and Hyderabad got to 175/3 in 20 overs.
Would that be enough?
Watson had the answer to that question as he pulled, smashed and hammered deliveries into the stands at will.
Watson was going strong, with Suresh Raina at the other end, when on 33 he slashed at a Sandeep Singh delivery, but an outstretched Jonny Bairstow failed to complete the catch.
Not that Watson needed a life to get into the groove, but the reprieve helped him believe the innings was his for the taking.
From thereon it was carnage as Watson wielded his bat with precision. He showed little respect to Rashid Khan who has been phenomenal in the IPL and in world cricket in general, but bowled lots of short stuff to the big Aussie.
The two shared hard stares now and then, but it was Watson who had the last laugh as the Afghan leggie was fancied by the 'White Shark'. Rashid finished with 1/44 off his 4 overs.
As the innings progressed, the air got heavy with humidity, but Watson was in no mood to slow down as he clobbered Rashid for 15 runs in the 16th to bring up the 150.
With 26 needed off the last 4 overs, Watson continued his big hitting, but he was done in in the 18th over by a short one from Bhuvaneshwar Kumar. The opener was finally caught by Bairstow for 96.
It was an innings that gave Hyderabad no chance to settle and all hopes of victory were killed once Watson got that new lease of life in the 9th over.
An awe-inspiring Watson show at the Chepauk.