Hyderabad: Sunrisers Hyderabad returned to IPL action after a week’s break with a five-wicket win over Gujarat Lions in a low-scoring match at Hyderabad on Friday night. Shikhar Dhawan guided the home side with a 40-ball 47 after the Sunrisers bowlers strangled the Gujarat batting to a score of 126.
Sunrisers Hyderabad returned with some good news for the Hyderabad crowd. Yuvraj Singh was declared fit to make his SRH debut and he came in to replace Ashish Reddy as the Hyderabad side added more firepower to their brittle middle order. Gujarat Lions brought back DJ Bravo for James Faulkner and gave Pradeep Sangwan his second start of the season in place of Ishan Kishan.
Swing is king—the perfect start
Hyderabad had high humidity throughout the week, and showers were expected during the match. Though none came along, the overcast conditions did play a part, and it was evident from ball 1. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar started off swinging the ball inside and out and had Dwayne Smith at sea. Ashish Nehra joined the act as the two Indian bowlers gave Hyderabad the perfect start with two maiden overs. The ball was swinging so much that despite the scoreboard pressure and despite having two sophisticated sloggers in McCullum and Smith at the crease, Gujarat just could not get their runs flowing.
When Bhuvneshwar Kumar gets 3 overs in his first spell, it says a lot about the bowling conditions. The pressure eventually resulted in a flurry of wickets—three of them—shared between Mustafizur and Bhuvneshwar. Gujarat crawled to 26 runs in the powerplay having played 24 dots in the period. Additionally, the fact that the ball was holding back just a tad extra and the bounce not being very easy to judge meant the five SRH fast bowlers were in for a party.
Finch is Gujarat’s last man standing
Not really a party-pooper, but Aaron Finch did his bit to spoil the early party mood. Finch, not so long ago, was the #1 ranked T20 batsman in the world, and he has been a opener or batted at #3 throughout his career. Tonight he came out at #5, by luck or fate is anybody’s guess, and Gujarat had their stars to thank for that. The Aussie powerhouse kept one end anchored and took Gujarat from a proper crisis at 25/3 in the 6th over, with three of their batsmen back in the stable, to a respectable total of 126 with his 42-ball 51. More importantly, Finch’s innings provided the perfect blueprint on how to bat in challenging conditions, like the ones in the capital city, and that proved crucial when the home side came out to bat, or maybe not?
Gujarat bowlers mix up the length, Warner mixes up his shot
David Warner has obviously been one of the best batsmen in the IPL this year, so it is no surprise that Hyderabad’s performances this season have coincided with the opener’s excellent form. Warner started the chase brightly here as well with the Gujarat bowlers bowling short in the initial couple of overs with Sangwan being the major culprit. But lessons were learnt real quick.
Praveen Kumar came in to bowl the third and bowled five full deliveries out of six, and Warner suddenly started to look vulnerable. With his hands itching after a low-scoring over, Warner attempted to clear the infield on the first ball of the fourth, mistimed it, and walked back. Gujarat had almost half the game in the bag, and although Dhawal Kulkarni got the wicket, it was scripted by Praveen Kumar’s decision to switch his length.
Dhawan anchors, Sangwan errs
Shikhar Dhawan took responsibility in the absence of David Warner, and anchored the innings with a gritty 47 off 40 balls to take the Hyderabad side past the finishing line. But his innings was also assisted by Pradeep Sangwan’s terrible bowling. To concede 28 runs in 2 overs on a pitch as bowler-friendly as this is nothing short of a crime. The bigger crime was on Suresh Raina’s part to reintroduce the bowler when the Hyderabad innings was slowing down, and the required-rate was 7.25. Sangwan con