There was a tweet on social media after the conclusion of the RCB and KKR clash on Wednesday that said, “The captains were choosing to bowl first when they were losing while chasing and they have now started to opt for batting while the sides are winning after batting second.” Well, the Twitter user was pretty correct in his observation especially after what happened during the clash between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders. KKR were restricted to 84/8 in 20 overs while RCB chased down the target by 8 wickets.
But Sunrisers Hyderabad captain David Warner didn’t really make this mistake and he opted to bowl first after winning the toss against Rajasthan Royals on Thursday in Dubai. Royals persisted with Ben Stokes opening the innings with Robin Uthappa and the two were looking good until a mix up that took place in the 4th over. Uthappa eventually lost his wicket through a run-out for 19 off 13 while the team sheet read 30/1.
While Uthappa was back in the hut, Stokes was joined by Sanju Samson who had lost a bit of touch in the recent matches. But Samson looked in some different mood on Thursday as he didn’t really resist himself from punishing any bad delivery. While Samson looked reasonably set in the middle, Stokes’ rough patch continued. He did score a couple of boundaries during the course of his 30 in 32 balls but didn’t really middle the ball well. In fact, the England batsman was dropped once at deep mid-wicket region by Vijay Shankar while miscued a couple of shots that went short of the fielders in the deep.
Stokes and Samson eventually perished in quick succession after a stand of 56 runs for the second wicket. Samson was dismissed for 36 off 26 deliveries. No other batsman really took on the SRH bowling attack except for Jofra Archer. Archer’s late surge guided Hyderabad to 154/6 in 20 overs. The right-handed England batsman scored 16 in 7 balls but the last-ball six from him certainly gave him the much-needed confidence that reflected in his bowling. For Sunrisers, it was Jason Holder who was the pick of the bowlers as he returned with 3/33 in 4 overs.
Jofra Archer’s spell
Archer had dismissed captain David Warner in the previous meeting as well and Smith without taking a second thought handed the ball to him. The quick-bowler did respond well and scalped Warner’s wicket on the fourth delivery of the innings after setting the left-hander pretty well.
He consistently bowled good length deliveries and moved the first two balls away from him. Warner was consistently getting beaten while his footwork too wasn’t impressive. Archer then held a similar line on the third ball but kept it on the fifth stump channel. Warner slashed this one and mistimed it completely. Luckily for him, the ball flew over the slip quarndon for a boundary. These three deliveries were enough to shake Warner’s confidence level. The seamer then pulled the length a bit on the fourth ball and kept it slightly outside off-stump that Warner edged the ball and it traveled to Stokes’ left, who moved quickly at second slip and pouched it.
In the third over, Archer got rid of Jonny Bairstow. he bowled this one at a speed of 149kph and the ball just nipped back into the right-hander disturbing the woodwork behind him. SRH were reduced to 16/2 but these were the only two wickets that they lost.
He eventually returned with figures of 2/21 in 4 overs.
Manish Pandey’s resistance
How many of you remember Manish Pandey’s only ODI ton for India that came against Australia in Sydney in 2016? This was probably one of the finest knocks that an Indian had played overseas not because he scored a hundred but because he anchored India to a win from the situation where the team had already lost the top three batsmen, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli who are known for chasing down big totals against any opposition. India needed 331 to win and Pandey’s 104* saw them going over the line.
Pandey unfolded a similar display of batting on Thursday against RR. the right-handed batsman struck an unbeaten 83 in 47 balls. But it wasn’t only his brisk knock that counted but the role he played to take his team over the line. While Pandey played an aggressive inning, he also took care of not losing his wicket. With Warner and Bairstow already back in the hut, Pandey had extra responsibility on himself to stick around and he did execute this perfectly. In fact, he began to accelerate only after he got his eye in and probably this was the reason that even Vijay Shankar who was batting with him didn’t play any glory shot but kept it simple right till the end. Shankar remained not-out on 52 off 51.
With this win SRH now have 8 points and four wins from 10 matches to their name.
SRH 156 for 2 in 18.1 overs (Manish Pandey 83, Vijay Shankar 52, Archer 2/21) beat RR 154 for 6 in 20 overs (Samson 36, Stokes 30, Jason Holder 3/33) by 8 wickets.