Fuelled by yet another stellar bowling display by their bowlers, the Sunrisers Hyderabad overcame the threat of posting yet again a modest total as they humbled Rajasthan by 11 runs. Moreover, Rajasthan’s loss, another on home soil at the Sawai Mansingh meant that the Ajinkya Rahane-led team have now come against desperate times, in registering their fourth loss in seven games.
Sunrisers Hyderabad- Masters in defending low-scores
After being asked to bat first, Sunrisers, led by another captain special by Kane Williamson was propped to reach 151. As Rajasthan, spruced by a Sodhi, Unadkat and particularly a Joffra Archer special put brakes on scoring and kept coming hard at traditionally a bowling-heavy side, the Kiwi captain found useful support from English Alex Hales.
In the wake of a Dhawan no-show, the dashing leftie only garnering 6 runs off 4 balls, the fulcrum of Hyderabad’s every testing scoring came at the back of a strong 92-run stand between the right-handers- Williamson and Hales. The latter being effective against Gowtham (who picked 2) and Kulkarni used his feet well and found the gaps as Williamson chipped in with stellar hitting on either side to register his 4th IPL 2018 fifty.
Truncating Rajasthan’s run chase
Some shots square on the off side were jaw-dropping as Hales’ timing, the English batsman coming onto his own with SRH giving Rajasthan a full measure of their bench strength having not played Carlos Brathwaite thus far.
There was an important fightback in the closing stages of Rajasthan’s bowling inning all thanks to young recruit Joffra Archer, so much of a talking point. In dismissing Shakib with a picture-perfect yorker that the leftie dragged onto his stumps, perhaps fiddling with a straighter one headed toward the off stump, Archer announced his arrival in 18th over. Next up, he would induce an error from the dangerous Pathan, these being the closing stages and eventually, removed Rashid Khan in the important 20th over.
But even despite Williamson’s polished, very handy 63 off 43, a 151 didn’t seem threatening. It never can, especially in an IPL. But you thought, shouldn’t Rajasthan Royals have been mindful of SRH’s bowling attack?
SRH turn the game on its head
Even as captain Ajinkya Rahane finally came up with a stellar effort- albeit a slow one in testing times through his 65 off 53, a fighting knock, it would never be enough against Siddharth Kaul- a real revelation and rest of SRH’s bowling arsenal. Wickets fell easily and comfortably with Stokes, Tripathi and Buttler falling cheaply, leaving only Rahane and usual suspect-Sanju Samson- play lame repair work. However, even as Samson battled through impressive shots and typical aggressive heaves over mid-wicket, his partner at the other end, Rahane, struggled to find gaps. Rashid Khan, with 1 wicket, had an off day going at 8 an over but Kaul’s removal of Samson in the midway stage hampered Rajasthan’s run-chase.
RR have many things to reflect on. Perhaps their inability to utilize their batting potential, inarguably having Rahane, not in the best of nicks to play repairman. Time may be right for Stokes to up his game. But that told, SRH- who only conceded- 54 from their final 6 are brimming in a verve of reassurance that all is right and going their way.