In Friday’s two IPL matches, played at the Dubai International Cricket stadium, Sunrisers Hyderabad’s true batting strength came to the fore. They lost just one wicket but each of the three batsmen played his part in amassing a match-winning total of 184/1 at the end of 20 overs. The victory target of 185 was stiff but not insurmountable. However, the DD team fell short by 5 runs in the end. In the other match later last night, Mumbai Indians continued with their woeful batting show and could only put up 141 against the formidable Chennai Super Kings. The CSK batting line-up is far too strong to find 142 as any challenge, as they went about overhauling MI by 7 wickets with six balls remaining to be bowled.
It was a murderous afternoon heat in Dubai, when Shikhar Dhawan chose to bat after winning the toss for SRH and got down to business from the word go. DD opened with the slow left-arm stuff from Shahbaz Nadeem. For the first time this season, SRH openers put up a creditable total with Dhawan launching the attack from the start and helped himself to a quick-fire 33 scored off 22 balls with 5 fours and a six. Dhawan’s was the only wicket that fell in the SRH innings. David Warner joined his familiar partner Aaron Finch, when Dhawan was out to an innocuous Nadeem delivery that should have been dispatched away to the ropes. But the ball apparently took the top edge and flew to Pietersen for a simple catch. Pietersen was playing his first match this season, after recovering from a hand injury. After a tentative and slow beginning Warner and Finch took command of the situation and batted with authority. SRH were 99/1 at the end of 14 overs but in the next 6 overs, both of them went berserk. They added 85 runs in the next 36 balls in a superb exhibition of power hitting. In 20 overs, SRH finished with 184/1 with Warner and Finch remaining unbeaten. Warner scored 58 off 45 balls with 3 fours and 3 sixes, while Finch finished with 88 off 53 balls with 8 fours and 4 sixes.
Delhi Daredevils openers were equal to task with both Murali Vijay and Quinton de Kock mounting an assault from the first over. When de Kock fell as the first wicket at 99 in 11.2 overs, DD were very much in the game with Pietersen, Karthik, Duminy and Tiwary to follow. Kock had made 48 off 30 balls. Murali Vijay also fell in the next over after scoring a 40-ball 52. At this point, the rate of scoring dipped as KP and Karthik both struggled to find their bearings. At the end of 15 overs, DD were 119/2 and still required 66 from 30 balls. KP had spent 10 balls for just 3 runs and Karthik’s 12 off 10 balls could not have been called a brisk pace of batting. But then the realization dawned on these two about losing the chase. With SRH applying brakes, DD’s late charge was not enough to surpass 184 in the end. It seems DD made a tactical error of holding back Duminy, who had a great tournament so far and he was the in-form batsman.
The next match was a sorry tale for the Mumbai Indians, who continued with their poor batting display. This has been the case with MI ever since the tournament began. MI won the toss and elected to bat first. They ran into trouble from the moment the innings began. Mike Hussey couldn’t find his old touch and fell in the second over, after facing 7 balls for just one run. In the 5th over, Aditya Tare also fell after scoring 23 off 19 balls but MI had a poor rate of scoring even when Rohit Sharma and Corey Anderson somehow steadied the boat with an 84-run third wicket stand. Once these two got out, by the 18th over, the remaining batsmen couldn’t help put a fighting total. Kieron Pollard looked like a ghost of his old past and his 12 off 11 balls in the death over did not justify his supposedly tear-away batting. 141/7 in 20 overs was too poor a challenge to CSK’s great striking power. Mohit Sharma did not allow later order MI batsmen to master him as he claimed 3 wickets in the 19th over with slower balls.
To Mumbai’s credit, Pragyan Ojha began with a maiden over to Dwayne Smith and Zaheer Khan conceded just 2 runs off the second. But this was just an aberration as Smith broke lose by the 3rd over. Luckily for CSK, Brendon McCullum regained his form and even after Smith’s departure in the 7th over continued in the way, he is known to bat. Harbhajan and Ojha tried to put the brakes but with McCullum going great guns, nothing worked for them. Suresh Raina and du Plessis fell early but McCullum and Dhoni reached the target with an over to spare.