Rajasthan Royals, after restricting Sunrisers Hyderabad’s famed batting line-up to a modest 133 for six, survived a few anxious moments before overhauling the target with three balls and four wickets to spare in their Indian Premier League (IPL) match at the Zayed Cricket Stadium here on Friday.
Rising head and shoulders above the rest in the low-scoring contest was man-of-the-match Ajinkya Rahane, who anchored the innings with 59 off 53 balls before Stuart Binny’s unconquered 48 (32b, 4x4, 1x6) took Royals home. Binny held one end up even as wickets fell at regular intervals at the other.
The winning runs, however, came from James Faulkner, who showed the pluck of a paceman, dispatching Bhuvaneswar Kumar twice to the ropes in the final over. Poised on the precipice close to the finish, Royals held its nerve when it came to the crunch.
Earlier, Sunrisers was invited to bat first, but couldn’t muster a total its bowlers could defend.
Faulkner, who had bowled bright spells against the Sunrisers in the previous edition, had the Hyderabad batsmen on the backfoot often with his angled deliveries, but didn’t dent the southern side much this time.
After Sunrisers posted 50 on the board, skipper Dhawan hoisted Rajat Bhatia over the midwicket fence.
The left-handed duo of Dhawan and David Warner couldn’t quite dish out the high-flying fare they relish and the restlessness began to show soon enough. Dhawan shovelled Bhatia to midwicket, where Richardson, his face wreathed with a beard like a sage, closed his palms on the offering.
The ball couldn’t quite elude Richardson, as he held on to Warner’s hit too, at the same position off the same bowler.
With hardly 100 on the board and just four overs to go, K.L. Rahul lofted Dhawal Kulkarni over long-on, but lobbed to Rahane a little later.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: A. Finch c Richardson b Kulkarni 2 (5b), S. Dhawan c Richardson b Bhatia 38 (34b, 3x4, 1x6), D. Warner c Richardson b Bhatia 32 (35b, 1x4), K.L. Rahul c Rahane b Kulkarni 20 (18b, 1x4, 1x6), D. Sammy c Vishwanadh b Richardson 6 (11b), Venugopala Rao (not out 16) (12b, 1x4), Karn c Hodge b Richardson 4 (5b), D. Steyn (not out) 0 (0b); Extras (b-1, lb-5, w-9): 15; Total (for six wkts. in 20 overs): 133.
Fall of wickets: 1-2 (Finch), 2-77 (Dhawan), 3-82 (Warner), 4-108 (Rahul), 5-111 (Sammy), 6-130 (Karn).
Rajasthan Royals bowling: Kulkarni 4-0-23-2, Richardson 4-0-25-2, Faulkner 3-0-27-0, Tambe 4-0-23-0, Bhatia 4-0-22-2, Binny 1-0-7-0.
Rajasthan Royals: A. Nayar lbw b Steyn 4 (3b, 1x4), A. Rahane c Finch b Mishra 59 (53b, 6x4), S. Vishwanadh c Dhawan b Bhuvneshwar 3 (9b), S. Watson c Rahul b Ishant 3 (7b), S. Binny (not out) 48 (32b, 4x4, 1x6), B. Hodge c Sammy b Mishra 1 (8b), R. Bhatia c Finch b Steyn 4 (3b, 1x4), J. Faulkner (not out) 8 (2b, 2x4); Extras (lb-3, w-2): 5; Total (for six wkts. in 19.3 overs): 135.
Fall of wickets: 1-4 (Nayar), 2-15 (Vishwanadh), 3-31 (Watson), 4-108 (Rahane), 5-111 (Hodge), 6-121 (Bhatia).
Sunrisers Hyderabad bowling: Steyn 4-0-29-2, Bhuvneshwar 3.3-0-21-1, Ishant 4-0-29-1, Sammy 2-0-19-0, Mishra 4-0-26-2, Karn 2-0-8-0.
Man-of-the-match: A. Rahane.