Chennai: Opener Brendon McCullum blazed his way to the season's first century as Chennai Super Kings registered a convincing 45-run victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad in the eighth edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) here on Saturday.
Electing to bat at the MA Chidambaram stadium, McCullum reached his century in the last ball of the innings, the belligerent knock consuming just 56 deliveries.
Two-time champions CSK put up a formidable 209 for four and then restricted SunRisers Hyderabad to 164 for six in 20 overs for their second victory in as many games.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni smashed 53 off 29 balls while briskly adding 63 runs for the third wicket with the New Zealander. McCullum had stands of 75 with his opening partner Dwayne Smith (27) and 60 with Suresh Raina (14), respectively.
Batting on 89 at the start of the final over, McCullum saw Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja (0) being dismissed off successive balls before hitting a six and a four to reach 99.
Off a full length delivery by Trent Boult, McCullum jabbed it to the covers for a single to bring up a well-deserved century.
McCullum struck nine sixes and seven fours during his stay in the middle. Dhoni, who smashed Karn Sharma for three sixes in the 18th over, hit the maximum four times besides picking as many boundaries.
The hosts had a good start and exploded in the death. McCullum was his usual self, often running down the track to unsettle the bowlers.
Pace spearhead Dale Steyn missed out on the match and the others struggled with Ishant Sharma leaking 46 runs in three overs.
While Super Kings didn't tinker with the XI that beat Delhi Daredevils narrowly on Thursday, Sunrisers Hyderabad's Kane Williamson and Trent Boult made IPL debuts, Ravi Bopara got a game ahead of Eoin Morgan, and Steyn missed out.
When their time to bat came, SRH were off to a sedate start with openers David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan putting on 30 runs in four overs before the Indian was sent back by Mohit Sharma.
Warner, who top-scored for the visitors with a 42-ball 53, lonely battled in the middle even as the other failed to convert their starts. Dhawan made 26 off 18 balls, while Naman Ojha (15) and Ravi Bopara (22) too could not deliver in the face of some disciplined bowling from the Super Kings.
Warner hit three sixes and a boundary before he became Pandey's victim.
Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was miserly in his four-over spell, conceding just 22 runs for the wicket of Ojha. Dwayne Bravo was the most successful bowler for CSK, returning economical figures of 2/25, while Mohit Sharma had 2/36.
However, it was Ishwar Pandey who took the most important wicket of Warner.
Kane Williamson surprisingly came into bat at number six and remained unbeaten on 26 from 18 balls.
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