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Gaikwad's bold 98 propels CSK to 212-3

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Chennai, Apr 28 (PTI) Skipper Ruturaj Gaikwad missed out on a successive hundred by a whisker but his valiant knock was the driving force which propelled Chennai Super Kings to 212 for three against Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League here on Sunday.

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Invited to bat, Gaikwad slammed an attractive 98 off 54 balls and was ably supported by Daryl Mitchell, who returned to form with a crucial 32-ball 52 before Shivam Dube's 20-ball 39 not out took CSK past the 200-mark.

The 107-run stand between Gaikwad and Mitchell was the cornerstone of CSK's innings as it is their 35th 200-plus total, the most by any side in T20 cricket.

Gaikwad was the star of the CSK batting as he hit 10 fours and three sixes in his innings.

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Opening the innings, Ajinkya Rahane (9) perished early again with Bhuvneshwar Kumar earning his prized wicket in the third over but Gaikwad kept CSK going. The skipper did not back down and attacked the bowlers at will as the hosts ended the powerplay at 50 for one.

In no time, the 27-year-old Gaikwad brought up his 17th IPL half-century off just 27 deliveries.

Gaikwad and Mitchell batted sensibly as they managed to keep the boundaries coming, with the latter chipping in periodically too after a slow start (12 off 11).

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With dew setting in the 12th over, the batting duo tried to take advantage of it as Mitchell soon brought up his maiden IPL 50 off 29 deliveries in the 13th over.

But the New Zealander failed to get going for too long and perished in the following over to Jaydev Unadkat after depositing a full-toss into the hands of Nitish Kumar Reddy in the deep mid-wicket.

In-form Shivam Dube then joined Gaikwad and the two decided to up the ante. SRH skipper Pat Cummins was targeted by the batters, having been dispatched for 49 in his four overs.

Gaikwad looked set to back-to-back tons but the heat and humidity of Chennai seemed to affect him as his vigil ended with a tired-looking shot as T Natarajan sent him back in the final over.

Crowd-favourite MS Dhoni scored five off two deliveries that included a four, while Dube deposited a full toss in the stands as the final four overs yielded 53 runs. PTI AYG ATK ATK

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