Fidel Edwards has left for England. And it seems, with him he has taken away the fizz from Team Hyderabad.
The Hyderabad attack has never looked as flat as it did on Monday evening at the breezy Buffalo Park as Team Chennai ran away to post 178-3 to go on top of the table.
That proved good enough as Hyderabad went down by 78 runs to lose their third game in a row.
Matthew Hayden (43 off 26 balls) was just waiting for the opportunity and he thrashed the insipid Hyderabad opening attack around to lend Chennai the perfect platform.
Neither RP Singh nor Ryan Harris could pose any threat, and everyone was left to wonder why Chaminda Vaas wasn’t playing the game.
M. Vijay (31) complemented Hayden well as Chennai raced away to 61 in less than seven overs. From there, it was a matter of keeping the momentum going, which MS Dhoni (58 not out) and Suresh Raina did well.
They ran well between the wickets and kept looking for the odd boundaries, which came along ever so often. Raina, particularly, was severe on TS Suman, carting him for two sixes and a boundary in one over, which helped Chennai press on the accelerator.
Dhoni, on the other hand, was desperate to get back into form after a bit of a rough patch in the IPL. He kept finding the gaps, ran hard, and the run rate never went below eight. To make a match of the target, Hyderabad desperately needed either Adam Gilchrist or Herschelle Gibbs to fire at the top.
Nothing of that sort happened as Chennai came out to bowl with a plan. Albie Morkel, coming in from round the wicket, swung the first ball in, and the wicketkeeper-batsman’s feet went nowhere and he found himself plumb in front.
The ball, which hardly did a thing in the first innings, started to dart around just a bit under lights and Sudeep Tyagi got one through Gibbs’ defences in the second over. VVS Laxman, coming back into the team, struggled yet again and was out in the third over.
With the score reading three down for one, the game was all but over. Chennai fielders tried their best to make the match interesting by dropping three sitters and allowing Dwayne Smith to play a few big shots. But Shadab Jakati (4-22) spun a web around Hyderabad.