Exceptional performances from skipper and opening batsman David Warner and Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan helped defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad defeat Gujarat Lions by nine wickets in the Indian Premier League at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium on Sunday evening.
Warner roared back to form with an unbeaten blistering 76 after rookie Rashid weaved a mesmerising spell as Sunrisers Hyderabad overpowered Gujarat Lions. It was Rashid’s 3 for 19 that helped Sunrisers restrict Lions to a paltry 135 for 7 in 20 overs and then Warner blasted his way to an unbeaten 76 off 45 balls to finish the match in 15.3 overs.
All-rounder Moises Henriques (52 not out) once again proved his worth with the willow as the duo added 108 runs for the unbeaten second wicket.
While this was Hyderabad’s second win in as many matches, last year’s top-four finisher Lions now have had two defeats in a row.
Warner, who had a poor Test series against India, would be happy as he was in his elements, hitting six boundaries and four huge sixes.
The mayhem started in the third over when rival skipper Suresh Raina introduced himself into the attack.
Warner lofted him straight into the sight screen and hit another one into the long-on region to break the shackles.
Leg-spinner Tejas Baroka — an inexplicable choice with no experience of playing any match at the senior level — was given a lesson of what to expect in top-flight cricket.
The youngster who has not been considered good enough to be a part of senior Delhi state side was handed a harsh lesson by the star Australian opener.
Warner dispatched his half-trackers to the boundary and lofted him for a huge six.
Kerala quick Basil Thampi was driven through the covers and cut for good measure as Warner picked the runs at will.
The match finished when Warner lofted Baroka into long-on stands.
Earlier, after an impressive debut, Rashid once again finished with superb figures of 3 for 19 in four overs. He rattled the Lions top-order with wickets of Brendon McCullum (5), Aaron Finch (3) and skipper Suresh Raina (5) in the 5th, 7th and 9th over of the innings.
Lions never recovered from the setbacks even though Dinesh Karthik (30) and Dwayne Smith (37) added 56 runs for the fifth wicket to stem the rot.
But it was the damage done by the Afghan ‘Wonderkid’ that spelt doom for Raina and his men.
McCullum was gone trying to sweep a googly while Raina played for the wrong ‘un only to be fooled by an orthodox leg-break. The hard-hitting Finch also failed to read a googly and in the process, was trapped plumb in front.
He looked dangerous during his entire spell bowling as many 11 dot balls in four overs.
Seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2/21 in 4 overs) and Ashish Nehra (1/27 in 4 overs) also bowled well.
Credit should be given to Warner as he gauged the slowness of the pitch and introduced orthodox left-arm spinner Bipul Sharma into the attack with Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Jason Roy (31 off 21 balls) hit a few boundaries before a mistimed pull shot off Bhuvneshwar brought his downfall.
Tottering at 57 for 4, it wasn’t easy for Karthik and Smith to pull things back with an attacking display as there weren’t too many reputed batsmen left after them.
Karthik was uncharacteristically slow scoring 30 off 32 balls with two boundaries while Smith shot four boundaries and a six in 27 balls.
In the end, both were out in quick succession of each other and Lions finished with a sub-par total.