Rajasthan Royals batsmen, barring Sanju Samson, come a cropper
Choosing to bat second, Sunrisers Hyderabad, going with the trend, overhauled Rajasthan Royals’ modest 125 for nine with 25 balls to spare at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Monday night.
Shikhar Dhawan’s blistering 57-ball 78, adorned with 13 boundaries and a big one, featured in the host’s nine-wicket victory.
Dhawan, dropped in the opening over off Dhawal Kulkarni, was certainly bad news for Royals, who, as the plot unfolded, paid dearly for the lapse. The southpaw made the most of that reprieve to mercilessly muscle his way forward.
After Wriddhiman Saha fell prey to Jayadev Unadkat’s angled assault, Dhawan joined hands with Kane Williamson to put the northern side’s attack to the sword. Kulkarni’s frustration would have known no bounds when the Delhi-born dasher’s upper cut sailed into the galleries behind third man.
Williamson drove Unadkat out of the firing line, smacking him past cover point and smiting the strapping speedster over the square-leg hoardings in the same over. The Kiwi made batting look ridiculously easy, but chose to back his partner’s charge.
If K. Gowtham was brought in to contain the damage, there was no respite for Royals from Dhawan as he struck two successive boundaries off the off-spinner. With his ninth hit to the fence, he stroked Ben Stokes through square for his half-century.
Earlier, Royals recouped after the first-over reversal of losing D’Arcy Short to Williamson’s direct hit at the bowler’s end from mid-on.
The confrontation between Billy Stanlake and Sanju Samson (49, 5×4) was a study in contrast, the 6’ 8” speedster spearing the ball down on the diminutive batsman.
Samson dominated the strike in the second-wicket stand with his skipper that yielded 46 off 35 balls. Ajinkya Rahane’s rap of a rising Siddharth Kaul delivery ballooned towards mid-wicket where Rashid Khan ran to his left to grab the catch.
Left with little room to play his explosive shots, Stokes perished early, holing out to long-on Williamson off Stanlake. Samson, meanwhile proved more than a handful, early in his stay patting Bhuvneshwar Kumar past point and smacking the Hyderabad spearhead across the line to the long-on boundary.
Rashid was quite the cowboy in the deep cover region, skidding sideways and forward, Stetson hat in place, to snap up Samson’s slash off Shakib Al Hasan. Samson’s dismissal struck at the very soul of Royals’ batting. Only Rahul Tripathi and Shreyas Gopal logged double figures apart from Samson.
After a brace of boundaries, Tripathi holed out to long-on Manish Pandey off Shakib. Jos Buttler was on the backfoot most of the time, not quite at ease against the wiles of Rashid.
The wicketkeeper-batsman edged to his end, not quite reading the line to find his off-stump pegged back.