Rajkot : David Warner’s third half-century of the season paved the way for Sunrisers Hyderabad’s ten-wicket win over Gujarat Lions in Rajkot. Warner, who slammed 74 off 48, combined with Shikhar Dhawan, who struck a fifty of his own, for an unbroken 137-run opening partnership after his bowlers, led by Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s 4 for 29, kept Lions to 135 for 8.
Warner began the chase with two fours off Dale Steyn, who was playing his first match of this IPL, and kicked into high gear with three fours off Praveen Kumar in the fourth over. Spin didn’t stem the run-flow either as Warner cut and pulled Suresh Raina to the boundary. The Sunrisers captain brought up his half-century in 29 balls, by which time his team needed less than run-a-ball for victory.
Dhawan, at the other end, took the opportunity to bide his time and recover some of his form. He wasn’t always fluent, but a paddle sweep off Dwayne Bravo in the 12th over changed that. At one point 25 off 24, Dhawan completed his half-century in 40 balls and though he didn’t indulge in much celebration, he had to a couple of balls later. Warner sealed the victory with six overs to spare and time was ripe for a twirl of the ‘tache.
That Lions were tied down, despite Raina’s 75 off 51, was Bhuvneshwar’s doing. He swung the new ball handsomely, as Aaron Finch found out in the first over when his stumps were splayed by an indipper, and when he couldn’t get movement through the air, his mixture of slower balls were hard to put away on a large outfield. Bhuvneshwar took three wickets in the final over of the Lions innings, including Raina’s, to cap Sunrisers’ strong comeback.
Mustafizur Rahman played a hand in Lions’ slowdown as well. He was saved for the final six overs again and still gave away only one boundary – when Warner misfielded at long-on. The Bangladesh seamer finished with 1 for 19, the mystery of his cutters no closer to being solved. Sunrisers also benefited from part-time offspinner Deepak Hooda and left-arm spinner Bipul Sharma rushing through five overs and picking up two wickets.
Lions, who had raced to 50 for 1 in the Powerplay, would have been disappointed that they could only manage 85 runs in the remaining 14 overs.