IPL Recap: When Williamson helped Sunrisers Hyderabad trump Rajasthan Royals

Ajinkya Rahane’s fifty went in vain for Rajasthan Royals against Sunrisers Hyderabad in a low-scoring IPL game at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur.

Kane Williamson plays a shot during Sunrisers' innings.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

If not for the COVID-19 crisis, Rajasthan Royals would have welcomed Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium on Tuesday night in the 13th season of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

To mark the occasion, we instead go back to April 29, 2018, nearly two years ago, to look back at a tight-fought low-scoring contest between the teams at the same venue.

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This was approximately at the halfway stage of the season; the Royals had played six matches before this one, and the Sunrisers had played seven.

The two teams had already met once before, in Hyderabad, in another low-scoring contest, but it was a one-sided one as well, Shikhar Dhawan scoring an unbeaten 77 to hand the Sunrisers an emphatic win.

Williamson drives Sunrisers 

This time, though, Dhawan was out early after Kane Williamson chose to bat. Williamson came out to bat and was slow early on in his innings. His first boundary was a sweetly-timed square cut, which pierced the gap between backward point and cover, off Dhawal Kulkarni. 

A gentle straight drive followed, in Jofra Archer’s first over; it was more a push than a drive, but it was so well-timed that the ball reached the boundary quickly. He opened up against left-arm seamer Jaydev Unadkat, first playing a ramp-shot for a four, and in the bowler’s next over, skipping down the track for a hit over long-off for six.

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In the same over, he slapped the ball through extra cover and got a thick edge off another attempted slog for a four through the vacant slip cordon.

After another hit for a six, a drive to long-off off Archer, he was castled, seemingly unable to read the googly by his New Zealand team-mate Ish Sodhi.  

The middle-order stumbled after he fell, but the total of 151 for 4 proved to be just enough eventually. Unadkat registered figures of 1 for 33 off three overs, thanks to Williamson’s hitting. Archer was the most successful bowler, with 3 for 26 off four overs.

Rahane hits fifty 

Ajinkya Rahane, the Royals captain, scored a half-century as well, and stitched a 59-run partnership with No. 3 Sanju Samson. All the Sunrisers bowlers barring fast bowler Basil Thampi bowled economically, and the Royals fell short by 11 runs.

Ajinkya Rahane acknowledges the applause after reaching his fifty.   -  R.V. Moorthy


What happened next 

Sunrisers reached the playoffs after topping the points table at the end of the group stages and lost to Chennai Super Kings in the first qualifier. In the eliminator, it defeated Kolkata Knight Riders before going down to Super Kings again in the final. 

Super Kings would lift the trophy for the third time, a nice comeback to the league after being banned for two seasons due to corruption.

The Royals also reached the playoffs but were knocked out in the first eliminator by Knight Riders. Williamson would win the orange cap with 735 runs in 17 innings, at an average of 52.50.

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