Afghanistan's Rashid Khan produced a magical spell of leg-spin bowling to claim three wickets and set the stage for his captain David Warner to rediscover his batting form as Sunrisers Hyderabad strolled through to a nine-wicket win over Gujarat Lions in the Indian Premier League (IPL) at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Sunday.
Once Gujarat Lions was restricted to a modest 135 for seven in 20 overs, the writing was on the wall for a second straight win for the home team on another perfect wicket. Though Sunrisers lost opener Shikhar Dhawan cheaply in the fourth over, the Aussie duo of Warner, who hit his ninth fifty at this ground for Sunrisers, and Moises Henriques thwarted Lions’ hopes with an unbeaten, 108-run partnership for second wicket.
Warner hit Lions captain Suresh Raina straight into the sight screen and then hit two beautiful fours off leg-spinner and debutant Tejas Baroka early on to make his intentions very clear. He even treated the highly-rated pacer Basil Thampi with scant respect.
With the inexperienced Lions attack not adequate to the situation, quite expectedly Sunrisers romped home thanks to another brilliant all-round performance which Warner finished off in style with another massive six over long-on off Baroka.
Earlier, 18-year-old Rashid bowled a terrific spell - the googlies in his first two overs leaving both big-hitters Brendon McCullum and Aaron Finch clueless for both to be trapped leg before wicket. And, in between the ever-reliable pacer, Bhuvneshwar Kumar induced a pull stroke from the free-stroking Jason Roy, who hit five fours during his brief stay, to be caught at mid-wicket by a diving Shikhar Dhawan. Lions failed to get the start it could have hoped for.
Then, Rashid struck another telling blow – this time with a classical leg-break – to trap Suresh Raina lbw and leave the opposition struggling at 57 for four in nine overs. His first spell read an impressive 3-0-12-3. A 56-run stand off 46 balls for the fifth wicket between Dinesh Karthik and Dwayne Smith saved Lions the blushes.
Bhuvneshwar was back in business in the 17th over to force Smith to swing to the substitute fielder in the deep after the latter showed his class in a knock that included a superb straight six off left-arm pacer Ashish Nehra. With Nehra removing Dinesh Karthik in the 18th over, there were no more fireworks to prop Lions’ total.
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