The curious case of the Uppal 'square' at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad gave the home team massive headaches as Chennai Super Kings scored a whopping 223/3 in their 20 overs on Wednesday night. With scores of - 126, 130, 123, 129 and 80 - been posted by teams batting first in Hyderabad, prior to Wednesday's match, the decision to opt for a new pitch quite seemingly backfired for the hosts.
Hyderabad, hitherto unbeaten at home, eventually lost by 77 runs but the seeds of the outcome, many felt, had been sowed much before. Giving Chennai power-hitters a 'batsman's paradise' and then also putting them into bat after winning the toss, was literally suicidal by the Hyderabad think-tank.
NDTV expert Dean Jones criticised the home team for not bowling enough short balls to Chennai batsmen, especially Suresh Raina.
"Even if he (Raina) gets a couple away for boundaries, bowlers have got to bounce the 'living daylights' out of him. Backing away from team plan is not done. Hyderabad should have used the slower ball and bowlers much better since Chennai struggle against spin," Jones said.
Another major factor for Sunrisers biting the dust was the bowling performance of Ishant Sharma. The lanky Indian pacer, Dale Steyn and Amit Mishra have led the attack with aplomb this season but both Sharma and Mishra chose to fail on the same day. While leg-spinner Mishra went for 41 in his four overs, Ishant (4-0-66-0) earned the dubious distinction of conceding most runs in an IPL innings.
Jones went a step ahead and questioned the fast bowler's record against top-quality batsmen.
"He bowled absolutely rubbish. Has he got a problem about bowling to quality players? Does he freeze a bit? He was more worried about the ball going in every direction than concentrating on his bowling. If he gets hit once or twice, he just runs away," Jones said.
Hyderabad bowling coach Waqar Younis though was more critical of the format than the bowler, who he feels has been quite good this season.
"This is the worst part of coaching. You can't do anything about it. You have to sit out and wait till the end to talk and tell them what to do in the next game. 20-20 is so fast, it doesn't give you opportunity to send the message," the Pakistan legend said.
The win not only made Chennai first team to register ten wins this season but also condemned Hyderabad to their first defeat at home in 2013. This surely would have jolted the team from the Deccan but going back to winning ways is what they will aspire, especially at a time when a place in the playoffs beckons. It would surely do them good to play to their strengths though.