Sun rises at Royals' fortress

For the third game in a week, Sunrisers Hyderabad bowlers stepped up to the plate to defend a below-par 151, helping SRH go on top of the points table with an 11-run victory against Rajasthan Royals here on Sunday.

Siddharth Kaul celebrates the dismissal of Mahipal Lomror in Jaipur on Sunday.   -  PTI

There is a reason teams are wary of chasing any total against Sunrisers Hyderabad this season. For the third game in a week, its bowlers stepped up to the plate to defend a below-par 151, helping SRH go on top of the points table with an 11-run victory against Rajasthan Royals here on Sunday.


It needs no reiterating that SRH easily has the best bowling attack in the competition this season. It has been equally clear that its batting has been too dependent on captain Kane Williamson. Both lived up to their reputations to ensure its sixth win in eight games.

Needing 21 runs in the final over, RR faced up to Basil Thampi, who had gone for 17 runs in his only previous over – the most expensive in the innings. Krishnappa Gowtham began with a four to square but then Thampi pulled back. With 13 needed in two balls, a mistimed shot from Gowtham found Dhawan at long on off the penultimate ball to seal the matter. Captain Ajinkya Rahane remained unbeaten, carrying his bat through the innings for 65 but was unable to provide enough acceleration.


But RR had messed things up long before. Dhawan failed yet again but Rahul Tripathi dropped Williamson on 11 off Jofra Archer at first slip and the team was punished with a blistering 63. Poor fielding cost the host at least 20 runs – and two wickets, the other being that of Alex Hales, dropped on 26 by Ben Stokes, running in from deep mid-wicket, off Ish Sodhi. The two added 92 runs for the second wicket but fell in quick succession, as Archer picked up his second three-wicket haul in as many games to peg back the scoring. Sodhi, making his IPL debut, got lucky when his ball skid under Williamson's bat, faintly brushing the underside and that triggered a mini-collapse.

SRH would have felt it was at least 15 runs short on a pitch that stayed slow and low, specially at the beginning of the chase that appeared to follow an identical script, with Tripathi falling early before Sanju Samson and Rahane set about building a partnership.

The two added 59 runs, with Sanju going big before being cut short by a slower one from Siddarth Kaul, caught at midwicket. Thereafter, it was back to routine for SRH's bowling -- choking the run flow, adding pressure and inducing costly mistakes. Punjab teammates Sandeep Sharma and Kaul combined to give just 38 runs in their eight overs for three big wickets, the latter becoming the highest wicket-taker as well. Yusuf Pathan, coming in for Mohammed Nabi as the team's sixth bowler, got lucky by dismissing Ben Stokes for nought. But then, luck does favour the brave.

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