Half-centuries from David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan laid the platform for Sunrisers Hyderabad to cruise to a target of 167 and pick up their first win of the season. They were aided by a dewy outfield, but Royal Challengers Bangalore would have known their total was never going to be good enough to test Sunrisers on a flat Chinnaswamy Stadium pitch.
Having been sent in, Royal Challengers were 93 for 2 in the 12th over of their innings, with Virat Kohli batting on 41, when two wickets in two balls from Ravi Bopara precipitated a slide that saw them lose their last eight wickets for 73 runs.
Royal Challengers were always going to struggle to defend 166, and a poor start from their seamers only made their task harder. The first ball of Sunrisers’ chase encapsulated the story that was about to unfold. Sean Abbott sent down a full-toss, and Warner simply met it with the full face of his bat to send it screaming away to the extra-cover boundary. By the end of the second over, Warner and Shikhar Dhawan had hit five more fours and a six, against Abbott and Harshal Patel’s assortment of hit-me balls, and Sunrisers had shaved 36 runs off their target.
Warner was in a particularly punishing mood, and in the fifth over took two fours and a six off successive balls from Varun Aaron. The six was the shot of a man in the zone. Aaron saw Warner making room and dug it in short, getting the ball to rise over shoulder height, but Warner still managed to jump off the ground and uppercut the ball over the backward point boundary.
Royal Challengers introduced spin in the eighth over, which began with Sunrisers 73 for 0. Warner muscled a short ball from Yuzvendra Chahal over the leg-side ropes, but the legspinner had his revenge three balls later, when he trapped Warner lbw as he failed to connect with a sweep.
Williamson missed another sweep in Chahal’s next over and ended up dragging his back foot out of the crease. The twin strikes could have stalled some of Sunrisers’ momentum, but KL Rahul ensured that didn’t happen. He pulled Sammy for an authoritative four soon after walking in, and stepped out to Chahal and hit him fiercely to the straight boundary in the next over. By that point, Sunrisers had brought the equation down to 57 from 52 balls. With eight wickets in hand, Dhawan well set, and plenty of dew for the bowlers to contend with, there was only going to be one winner.
Dhawan, who had been content to ride in both Warner and Rahul’s slipstreams, accelerated as he approached his fifty, hitting two massive sixes off Abu Nechim, a pull and a pick-up shot over backward square leg. Royal Challengers weren’t just beaten comfortably, with 16 balls remaining, they also suffered the anxiety of watching AB de Villiers hobble off the field with a twisted ankle, suffered while trying to stop a ball with his feet.
Interviewed between innings, Ravi Bopara said the Sunrisers bowlers had struggled to grip the dew-soaked ball too. If so, they did a pretty good job to cope with it. They couldn’t control every ball, and gave away their share of boundaries to AB de Villiers and Sean Abbott, but bowled a lot of good balls towards the end of the Royal Challengers innings, usually targeting the base of the stumps. They took three wickets with yorkers in the last five overs, one from Ashish Reddy in the 16th over and two from Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the 20th.
In between, Trent Boult took out de Villiers, who sliced a wide one straight into sweeper cover’s hands, and removed Abott and Harshal Patel in the same over, with well-directed short balls. In all, Royal Challengers lost their last six wickets for 41 runs, and their last five in the space of ten balls.
The total of 166 was far less than what Royal Challengers seemed set for during a breezy first-wicket partnership between Chris Gayle and Kohli. With the ball coming on beautifully and the outfield lightning-quick, both batsmen were able to find the boundary by simply pushing the ball into gaps.
Gayle fell in the sixth over, flicking Praveen Kumar straight to deep square leg, but Kohli was still batting fluently at the other end, and a spilled return catch from Karn Sharma in the ninth over may have raised Sunrisers’ worries of having to chase an outlandish target.
But that wasn’t to happen. Karn got rid of Dinesh Karthik, who picked the wrong ball to try and slog-sweep, and Bopara rattled Kohli’s off stump when he tried to force him away through the off side. Next ball, Mandeep Singh looked to flick a legcutter and got a leading edge to off. There didn’t seem to be anyone in its way, until Warner flew to his right from short cover to pluck it one-handed. It wouldn’t be his last eye-catching contribution of the day.
|Royal Challengers Bangalore innings (20 overs maximum)||R||B||4s||6s||SR|
|CH Gayle||c Ashish Reddy b P Kumar||21||16||3||1||131.25|
|V Kohli*||b Bopara||41||37||4||2||110.81|
|KD Karthik†||c Williamson b Sharma||9||11||1||0||81.81|
|AB de Villiers||c Dhawan b Boult||46||28||5||2||164.28|
|Mandeep Singh||c Warner b Bopara||0||1||0||0||0.00|
|DJG Sammy||b Ashish Reddy||6||9||0||0||66.66|
|SA Abbott||c Sharma b Boult||14||9||1||1||155.55|
|HV Patel||c Williamson b Boult||2||2||0||0||100.00|
|AN Ahmed||b B Kumar||4||2||1||0||200.00|
|VR Aaron||b B Kumar||6||3||0||1||200.00|
|YS Chahal||not out||1||1||0||0||100.00|
|Extras||(lb 4, w 12)||16|
|Total||(all out; 19.5 overs)||166||(8.36 runs per over)|
Fall of wickets 1-43 (Gayle, 5.3 ov), 2-77 (Karthik, 10.1 ov), 3-93 (Kohli, 11.5 ov), 4-93 (Mandeep Singh, 11.6 ov), 5-125 (Sammy, 15.6 ov), 6-152 (de Villiers, 18.2 ov), 7-152 (Abbott, 18.3 ov), 8-155 (Patel, 18.5 ov), 9-165 (Aaron, 19.3 ov), 10-166 (Ahmed, 19.5 ov)
|A Ashish Reddy||1||0||11||1||11.00||2||0||1|
|Sunrisers Hyderabad innings (target: 167 runs from 20 overs)||R||B||4s||6s||SR|
|DA Warner*||lbw b Chahal||57||27||6||4||211.11|
|S Dhawan||not out||50||42||4||2||119.04|
|KS Williamson||st †Karthik b Chahal||5||9||0||0||55.55|
|KL Rahul||not out||44||28||4||1||157.14|
|Extras||(lb 5, w 9, nb 2)||16|
|Total||(2 wickets; 17.2 overs)||172||(9.92 runs per over)|
Did not batNV Ojha†, RS Bopara, A Ashish Reddy, KV Sharma, P Kumar, B Kumar, TA Boult
Fall of wickets 1-82 (Warner, 7.5 ov), 2-94 (Williamson, 9.5 ov)
|AN Ahmed||4||0||41||0||10.25||12||1||3||(2nb, 1w)|