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IPL 2018, CSK vs SRH: Chennai Super Kings put Sunrisers Hyderabad in the shade
IPL 2018 CSK vs SRH: Ambati Rayudu scores an unbeaten century as Chennai thump league leaders SRH to secure playoff spot.

  An almost un-Indian batsman: It’s a pity that Ambati Rayudu hasn’t always got what he has sought: a spot in the top order. The way the Indian team has lined up, it hasn’t been easy for him but luckily for him, Chennai Super Kings have given them that opportunity and he has been a delight to watch. Even when he hits out, unlike a few who exude a nervous energy, Rayudu gives the impression he is under control. He doesn’t swagger, he doesn’t come across as restless, he doesn’t get too itchy to extend himself – he remains calm. Especially in recent times.

He decimated the IPL’s strongest bowling attack of Sunrisers Hyderabad en route his maiden IPL ton in a table-top clash on Sunday afternoon in Pune. And he did it his way. Unlike many Indian batsmen, he pulls, cuts and uses his feet against spinners. He has the knack of manipulating the ball around, behind square on both sides, but it’s his big hits that stood out from the game. Again, unlike most Indian batsmen, he can go back and across as he showed when he picked a short ball from Siddarth Kaul and absolutely walloped it for a six over midwicket.

At times, when he is playing the horizontal bat shots, he can come across as all arms, but he has pretty good hands too. Like this one time when he lifted Bhuvneshwar Kumar for a six over cover: It was his first attacking shot of the evening, and he just leaned forward, let his hands go through the line of the ball and cradled it up and over, rather effortlessly.

He played the sweeps and down-the-wicket lofted drives against the spinners but all that becomes more effective as he has the ability to rock back and cut the tweakers. At times, he would just lean back and bunt the ball, angling it away for singles. Then, like he did to Rashid Khan, he quickly pressed back and cut it late through backward point for a four. It’s that ability to be good off the front and back foot that makes the spinners often err in length to him. They end up predetermining him, and on his day, Rayudu comes out on top against them.

He does predetermine his strikes against the spinners, as any good batsman would, but he selects his shots pretty well. He chose to sashay down the track to Shakib Al Hasan for a few lofted hits. To Rashid Khan, he either hit him up and over the off-side from the crease or went back to cut. It’s in these little details that his maturity comes through.
He is also one of those batsmen who have the innate confidence to feel that they can triumph against the best. Like when Bhuvneshwar bowled a nip-backer into him and hit his thigh. Rayudu’s response next ball? He pulled a similar delivery over midwicket for a six. It was apt that he remained unbeaten on a well-deserved hundred for this was one of those knocks that showcased the best of his skills and thinking.



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