Warner’s return to the top of the order pays rich dividends
Freighted with a city’s hopes, Sunrisers Hyderabad duly delivered, securing a seven-wicket victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium on Tuesday.
Set a target of 161, the home side scampered to victory with two balls to spare. Although the teams each have 10 points from a dozen games, the visitors with a superior net run rate were placed fifth and Sunrisers, sixth after this contest.
Sunrisers began their response with a changed combo Shikhar Dhawan and David Warner seeing their side off to a stirring start.
Considering the dividends it paid, it wasn’t a bad move after all. Dark clouds gathering on the horizon and a possible recourse to the Duckworth-Lewis method may have spurred the duo to a brisk pace, the first five overs fetching 45 facing a required rate of eight.
If the spinners were introduced to slow things down, it had just the opposite effect, Warner carting Muthaiah Muralitharan and Yuzvendra Chahal for a six each.
SRH’s hundred came shortly after Dhawan’s half-century but brought about the latter’s exit, run out off a Yuvraj throw from the point region.
Naman Ojha got into his run-making role soon enough, sending Chahal over long-off.
Warner departed not long after, aiming to smear Aaron on the full over long-off, instead holing out to Yuvraj at cover.
With 20 required off the last two overs, Ojha patted Aaron high into the stands behind cover. An attempted encore was picked up by Yuvraj at cover, 10 short of the target.
Darren Sammy struck Aaron into the sightscreen and scrambled a brace to bring victory.
Pinned down by the pace duo of Dale Steyn and Bhuvneshwar Kumar and then by spinners Karn Sharma and Parveez Rasool, openers Parthiv Patel and Chris Gayle perished early after the Challengers chose first strike.
Parthiv was trapped plumb in front by Bhuvneshwar while Gayle attempting to heave Sharma across the line, thick-edged to short third man Rasool.
Scoring was initially sluggish, with RCB failing to breach the 25-run mark in the first five overs for the fourth time this season. It then perked up after 10 overs with Kohli and Yuvraj sizing up the spinners.
Shortly after the duo had stitched a 50-run stand the southpaw struck Rasool straight to Steyn at long-on.
Kohli, with a quartet of boundaries and as many big hits for his 41-ball 67, smote Irfan Pathan but was held by Steyn in front of the sightscreen. A peach of a delivery from Bhuvneshwar uprooted A.B. de Villiers’s middle stump as the South African went down for an ambitious pull.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: C. Gayle c Rasool b Karn Sharma 14 (20b, 1x4), Parthiv lbw b Bhuvneshwar 4 (4b, 1x4), V. Kohli c Steyn b Irfan Pathan 67 (41b, 4x4, 4x6), Yuvraj c Steyn b Rasool 21 (25b, 2x4, 1x6), A.B. de Villiers b Bhuvneshwar 29 (17b, 2x4, 1x6), Sachin Rana (not out) 12 (7b, 2x4), M. Starc run out 6 (6b, 1x4); Extras (b-2, lb-1, w-4): 7; Total (for six wkts. in 20 overs): 160.
Fall of wickets: 1-5 (Parthiv), 2-23 (Gayle), 3-80 (Yuvraj), 4-141 (Kohli), 5-146 (de Villiers), 6-160 (Starc).
Sunrisers Hyderabad bowling: Bhuvneshwar 4-0-27-2, Steyn 4-0-23-0, Rasool 4-0-26-1, Karn Sharma 3-0-27-1, Venugopala 1-0-7-0, Irfan Pathan 3-0-28-1, Sammy 1-0-19-0.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: S. Dhawan run out 50 (39b, 7x4, 1x6), D. Warner c Yuvraj b Aaron 59 (46b, 3x4, 4x6), Naman Ojha c Yuvraj b Aaron 24 (20b, 2x6), A. Finch (not out) 11 (9b, 1x4), D. Sammy (not out) 10 (4b, 1x6); Extras (b-2, lb-2, w-3): 7; Total (for three wkts. in 19.4 overs): 161.
Fall of wickets: 1-100 (Dhawan), 2-126 (Warner), 3-150 (Ojha).
Royal Challengers Bangalore bowling: Muralitharan 4-0-26-0, Starc 3.4-0-31-0, Aaron 4-0-36-2, Abu Nechim 2.2-0-22-0, Chahal 4-0-32-0, Yuvraj 1.4-0-10-0.
Man-of-the-match: D. Warner.
Sunrisers won by seven wickets with two balls to spare.