After being sent in to bat first, Sunrisers Hyderabad lost David Warner early but that didn’t deter them as their top order clicked on Thursday against Rajasthan. SRH gambled in leaving out Dale Steyn and Trent Boult and brought in Eoin Morgan and Ishant Sharma. After the solid foundation laid by Warner and Dhawan, Morgan provided a late surge missing in SRH’s batting this season. Dhawan got out in the 15th over for a 35-ball 54 and at the end of the 16th, Morgan had scored only 18 from 15 balls. The Sunrisers’s score stood at 150/3 with 4 overs left. Then all of a sudden, Eoin Morgan brought Mumbai’s Brabourne Stadium alive as he unleashed a flurry of fours and sixes. In full-throttle acceleration, Morgan completed his half century in the next 8 balls, 6 of which were either sent to the boundary or lofted over the ropes. When Morgan finally got out, he had reached 63 off just 28 balls. With Ravi Bopara adding 17 off 12, SRH ended their 20 overs at 201/4. For Rajasthan Royals, making 202 was not a big issue with plenty of star batsmen in their ranks. But they lost their most prolific run-getter Ajinkya Rahane in the very first over and with Shane Watson, Karun Nair and Deepak Hooda also falling cheaply, RR could only muster 77/4 in the 11th. A late revival by Steve Smith, James Faulkner and Sanju Samson created hopes but loss of wickets at crunch time weakened their resolve. Regardless, in an unexpected rearguard action, Chris Morris created a scare for SRH by hitting three sixes off three balls from Praveen Kumar. But off the last nine balls, Morris and Stuart Binny could only manage 14 runs and RR lost the high-scoring match by 7 runs.
All through this season, Warner has been SRH’s front man and more often than not, he has succeeded in providing a strong start to his side. Thursday was no different as the Australian in the company of Shikhar Dhawan produced another solid start as SRH reached 48 off the first 27 balls. But after scoring two consecutive boundaries off Shane Watson, Warner nicked the next ball to Sanju Samson. While the no.3 batsman Moises Henriques struggled, Dhawan kept the score board ticking at a healthy pace. After scoring 20 off 21 balls, Henriques was bowled by Pravin Tambe in the 11th over. There was a slump in the rate of scoring after Henriques’ departure because Eoin Morgan took some time in settling down. When Dhawan fell as the third wicket in 15th over, the score had reached only 127/3. RR were back in the game and they tried to put further restriction. But Morgan’s dramatic shifting of gears changed things completely. The England World Cup captain began clobbering the bowlers and accelerated SRH’s scoring. Ravi Bopara was another Englishman with Morgan. The two of them took the score to 180 in the 18th over before Morgan holed out to Steven Smith at long leg boundary. However, Morgan had done his job in scoring 63 off 28 balls with 4 fours and 5 sixes. With Bopara and Naman Ojha providing quick runs towards close, SRH reached 201/4 after 20 overs.
Rajasthan Royals are perfectly capable of overhauling 200-plus scores and therefore they were not unduly alarmed when Watson and Rahane walked out for the 202-run chase. But Thursday proved unlucky for RR as they lost both openers by the 4th over. Only Steven Smith kept going from one end as more misery befell the Royals. Karun Nair departed in the 8th over and Deepak Hooda in the 11th. Bereft of support from his colleagues, Smith still made 68 off 40 balls before getting out. RR had a brief period of hope with late blows from James Faulkner and Sanju Samson, when RR needed 57 from 18 balls but Faulkner and Samson were taken out by Bhuvneshwar Kumar and SRH looked on the victory path. However, as a late surge, Chris Morris struck three consecutive sixes off Praveen Kumar to bring the equation down to 22 off nine. Not to be outdone, Bhuvi and Praveen Kumar tightened the grip yet again and prevented any further heroics from Morris as RR lost the match by 7 runs.
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