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Standing ovation for Rayudu 

Pune: Opener Ambati Rayudu smashed his maiden century in the Indian Premier League (IPL) as Chennai Super Kings coasted to an easy eight-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad to virtually seal a play-offs berth here on Sunday. Rayudu remained unbeaten on 100, which he made from 62 balls with the help of seven fours and seven sixes, as CSK chased down 179 with one over to spare.The 32-year-old Rayudu stitched a 134-run stand with Shane Watson (57) for the opening wicket to lay the foundation of the comprehensive win. Watson smashed five fours and three sixes in his 35-ball knock. Captain MS Dhoni remained not out on 20 from 14 balls as CSK reached 180/2 from 19 overs. During the course of his innings, Rayudu crossed 500 runs this season, the third batsman to do so after Sunrisers captain Kane Williamson (544) and Kings XI Punjab’s Lokesh Rahul (537).  The CSK win also snapped Sunrisers’ six-match winning streak this season. Sunrisers, who have already qualified for the play-offs, remained on top of the table with 18 points from 12 matches, while CSK are at second spot with 16 points from the same number of matches. Rayudu and Watson showed scant respect to the Sunrisers bowlers, touted as the best in this IPL. Bhuvneshwar Kumar had a poor day in office as he leaked 38 runs from his four overs without any success. Rashid Khan also went wicketless, while Bangladeshi left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan was hit for 41 runs without any success. Medium-pacer Siddarth Kaul leaked 40 runs from his three overs as the Sunrisers bowlers had a rare collective off-day.Watson and Rayudu gave CSK a flying start, and by the halfway mark, they had galloped to 93 for no loss. The quick dismissal of Watson and Suresh Raina (2) gave a glimmer of hope to Sunrisers but Rayudu killed it in no time with his free-flowing strokes.Earlier, Shikhar Dhawan and captain Kane Williamson continued their top form as the duo struck fluent half-centuries to take Sunrisers to 179/4. They scored the bulk of runs for their team with a 123-run stand for the second wicket.  — PTI

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