Jonny Bairstow, with a quickfire 48 (28b, 9X4, 1X6), backed up a disciplined, effective bowling effort by Sunrisers Hyderabad to help the side chase down a target of 130 and collect a five-wicket win over Delhi Capitals at the Feroze Shah Kotla on Thursday.
The five-wicket win helped Sunrisers Hyderabad leapfrog to the top of the points table.
A slight hiccup towards the business end gave the home side a look-in but it was too little, too late. Once middle-order batsman Manish Pandey departed, in the 13th over, the team needed 35 more runs to win with seven wickets in hand. Seamer Ishant Sharma and left-arm spinner Axar Patel kept runs down to a trickle and contributed with a wicket each to provide some hope to the home side.
First, Vijay Shankar (16, 21b, 1X4) played a cut shot too early and was caught by Shreyas Iyer, the opposition captain, at extra-cover. Then, in the next over, the 16th, Deepak Hooda attempted to play a slog-sweep for six off leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane, but failed to get the timing and was caught by Kagiso Rabada in the deep.
Yusuf Pathan and Mohammad Nabi, though, held on and saw Sunrisers home in the penultimate over. Nabi managed an inside-edge for a four off the second ball off that over, and to finish the contest, slashed at the next delivery outside off for a six. Alongside a useful bowling performance, his batting rounded off a fruitful outing for him.
Bairstow was the star of the show, however. The opener seemed to be playing on a different pitch to most others as he played his characteristic pulls and lofted strokes with ease. Off spinners, he did not hesitate to skip down the track to smash boundaries straight down the ground.
He fell against the run of play. Looking to flick a delivery from leg-spinner Rahul Tewatia, he missed the ball and was adjudged leg-before-wicket. Soon after, his opening partner David Warner, for once only a bystander, fell too. Warner scored only 10 runs in a rapid opening partnership of 64 before falling to Rabada, smashing a drive straight to the mid-off fielder.
The big hits were reigned in for a while, but there was no way back for Capitals with the low total on the board.
After the demoralising defeat in Mohali, Capitals returned home but comfort eluded the side as its batsmen struggled to time the ball. Hitting through the line was difficult and Sunrisers’ bowlers were smart enough to disallow any room for leverage or pace to play with.
Hitters of reputation came and went without lifting the run-rate which hovered around six per over for the most part. Overall, only nine fours and four sixes were hit in the final score of 129 for 8.
Left-hand batsman Axar Patel ended the innings on a good note, managing a couple of sixes in the final over – including one straight behind Siddarth Kaul, the seamer, off the last ball.
Having played only 13 deliveries for 23, he emerged with the second highest tally in the innings – after Shreyas Iyer, the captain, who managed a hard-working 43 (41b, 3X4, 1X6).
Prithvi Shaw, who scored 99 in the last contest here, played the first ball of the innings excellently – punching Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the opposition captain, for a boundary through point.
But soon after, he edged a delivery through the vacant first-slip region for his second boundary. In Bhuvneshwar’s next over, he attempted swipe across the line and had his off-stump pegged back.
Shikhar Dhawan, his opening partner, searched for an opening to free his arms and find some rhythm to his innings, but failed.
He collected his only boundary via a firmly struck sweep shot in the sixth over; in the last ball of that over from off-spinner Mohammad Nabi, he attempted an encore, and instead top-edged. He was caught Sandeep Sharma positioned at short fine-leg.
In pictures: Hyderabad beats Delhi by five wickets
Rishabh Pant, promoted up the order, also fell cheaply to Nabi as he tried to muscle the ball through long-off for a six in the 10th over. Deepak Hooda, positioned near the boundary padding, reached for the ball with his arms over his head and completed a useful catch.
The innings kept disintegrating. Sandeep Sharma, the seamer, foxed a number of batsmen with his knuckle ball that travelled slower than his stock ball. The clueless Rahul Tewatia, sent to bat at No. 5, failed to negotiate one such delivery and provided a tame catch to cover.
Colin Ingram, too, fell to a slower delivery, slashing Kaul to point, where Manish Pandey took an acrobatic catch. Chris Morris managed a four and a six – the latter off a relatively loose delivery from Sandeep – before falling to a slower ball from Bhuvneshwar.
All this while, Iyer had been content in churning out singles and the odd boundary. Early on, he played a clean lofted drive through the on-side for a six off Kaul. He looked reasonably comfortable in the middle as he pulled, flicked and cut, and laid anchor for what could have been a big score.
But as with the rest, the big hits weren’t available. He managed to strike disdainful boundaries off Rashid Khan — the leg-spinner — and Sandeep, but these moments were few and far between.
Eventually, he seemed to have lost patience to have played across the line to Rashid, and was bowled.
Rashid couldn’t claim any more wickets, but as expected, turned out to be quite economical. He gave away 18 runs off his four overs.
Nabi was effective, too, registering figures of 2 for 21.
Yet, it was a combined bowling effort — clinical and disciplined — enough for a comfortable win.