Cutters and slowers: How SRH outplayed CSK on Hyderabad’s black soil pitch

Abhishek Sharma vs CSK
Abhishek Sharma vs CSK (PC: IPL/X)

Sunrisers Hyderabad demonstrated a masterful understanding of the conditions compared to Chennai Super Kings on a challenging black-soil surface, securing their second consecutive victory at home. Missing key players like Mustafizur Rahman and Matheesha Pathirana, a depleted CSK side suffered their second consecutive defeat on the road.

In the last week in IPL 2024, Sunrisers had revelled in a high-scoring encounter on an adjacent red-soil pitch, but Friday’s track was notably slower. Sunrisers’ seamers capitalised on this, deploying an array of cutters to great effect. After restricting CSK to 165-5, Sunrisers blazed to 78-1 in the Powerplay, with Abhishek Sharma leading the charge with a quickfire 37 off just 12 balls.

CSK’s attempts to swing the ball while also trying back-of-a-length deliveries early on were met with aggressive hitting from Sunrisers’ batters, particularly Abhishek, who dismantled the opposition’s bowling attack.

One key aspect that stood out was Sunrisers’ proficiency with cutters and slower deliveries. Bowlers like Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Pat Cummins and Jaydev Unadkat utilised the variations to good effect, conceding at less than eight runs per over and showcasing their effectiveness on a slow surface.

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SRH Bowlers vs CSK
SRH Bowlers vs CSK (PC: IPL/X)

In contrast, CSK’s bowlers struggled for control, with Deepak Chahar leaking runs at an economy rate of 10.10 and Mukesh Choudhary conceding 27 runs in a single over. Although Tushar Deshpande tried to bring in the cutters into play, his stock deliveries were dispatched for boundaries as he ended up conceding 20 in two overs.

Chahar and Choudhary’s attempts to try and swing the ball early on were met with disdain. While Travis Head smoked a maximum in the first over by Chahar, Choudhary was taken to the cleaners by Abhishek in the next over, scoring 27 off it. He took the attack to Chahar in the following over, as the youngster smashed a six and a four before the CSK pacer dismissed the southpaw.

Mind, it was the change of length, wide outside off, which helped Chahar send Abhishek packing. SRH batters, especially Abhishek, were clever to use the pace early on and take the game away from CSK inside the Powerplay overs. It was clear that CSK bowlers didn’t take any cue from their Sunrisers counterparts. By the time they brought in their cutters and spinners, Sunrisers batters had taken the game away from them.

Kumar, known for swinging the new ball, adapted his strategy by bowling back-of-a-length cutters and reaped rewards with a crucial wicket. Cummins displayed astute captaincy by employing his fast bowlers to counter CSK’s aggressive batting approach against spinners.

Aiden Markram and Travis Head vs CSK
Aiden Markram and Travis Head vs CSK (PC: IPL/X0

Recognising Shivam Dube and Ajinkya Rahane’s effectiveness against spin, Cummins brought back his pacers to bowl cutters, disrupting CSK’s momentum and choking their run-scoring in the later overs. Unadkat, in particular, executed his slower balls outside the off-stump brilliantly, confounding CSK batters and limiting their scoring opportunities.

Reflecting on the pitch conditions after the match, Cummins highlighted the importance of adapting to the changing conditions.  “Different soil. Slowed up as the game went on. Still a fantastic game. We have got plenty of fast bowlers. Shivam was hitting the spinners. So we took a chance with the fast bowlers bowling cutters,” the Aussie said at the post-match presentation.

CSK’s struggles were evident throughout the match, scoring 30 fewer runs in Powerplay compared to Sunrisers. The slower pitch and Sunrisers’ effective use of cutters made run-scoring difficult for CSK, especially in the slog overs.

Ultimately, Sunrisers secured a comprehensive victory with six wickets in hand and nearly two overs to spare, with Aiden Markram playing a crucial role with a brisk 50 off 36 balls. The match highlighted Sunrisers’ adaptability and tactical acumen, which reflected well on Cummins.

Also Read: Sunrisers dominate to leave Chennai Super Kings flat in Hyderabad

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