After surviving some anxious moments, Sunrisers Hyderabad was home and dry, notching its fifth victory of the IPL against Gujarat Lions at the Rajiv Gandhi international stadium on Friday night. Steering the host to safety with an over to spare was a rock steady Shikhar Dhawan, who scored 47 off 40 balls.
> Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Chasing the Lions’ 126 for six, the first half of the pursuit wasn’t without its share of problems for the Sunrisers. Warner struck a brace of sixes but his bid to bludgeon Dhawal Kulkarni from outside off stopped short of Praveen Kumar at mid-on. Kane Williamson dabbed at one leaving him from Praveen and spooned a catch to Dwayne Smith at short cover.
Moises Henriques, initially bewildered by Shivil Kaushik’s quirky action, sorted him out soon enough. The strapping Aussie departed not much later, trying to pull Dwayne Bravo. The brush from his glove was latched on to by Dinesh Karthik leaping to his left. Yuvraj Singh, completely out of sorts in his comeback game, was held by deep cover Pradeep Sangwan off Kulkarni.
Dhawan was at his best on the backfoot, slapping a Kulkarni steepler to backward of square or gliding the paceman to the third man ropes. Relatively slow off the blocks when compared to Warner, it was the seasoned southpaw who took the reins firmly in his hands to take his team to victory.
After being invited to bat, the welcome from Sunrisers’ new ball operators Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ashish Nehra was hardly warm. The pace duo tied down Lions’ openers Smith and Brendon McCullum with 13 dot balls. Hanging out his bat to dry, Smith’s snick was gobbled up by short third man Mustafizur off Bhuvneshwar.
The stranglehold of the bowling duo continued until Suresh Raina flicked Nehra, straying down the leg side, for a six. The southpaw then carted Kumar, his UP Ranji teammate, over the long-on ropes. Bhuvneshwar exacted sweet revenge soon after, snapping up the caught and bowled chance Raina popped up.
McCullum, nowhere near his marauding best, was lucky to survive when Dhawan spilt a skier at point off Mustafizur. The Bangladeshi seamer was duly rewarded when Kane Williamson combined acrobatics and athleticism, taking a blinder at backward of point to send back Dinesh Karthik. McCullum was put out of his misery when his skewed straight drive was picked up by Warner running in from long-off. Dwayne Bravo perished, pulling Sran to substitute and deep square-leg Vijay Shankar.
Aaron Finch was reprieved, surprisingly by Warner, off Henriques at long-off. Lions laboured to three figures with less than three overs left. Finch’s unbeaten 51, studded with three boundaries and a big one proved to be the mainstay of the Lions innings, but it was not enough for his side.
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