It was the turn of the batsmen, led by an explosive Alex Hales and Shikhar Dhawan, to script Sunrisers Hyderabad’s win — a seven-wicket verdict over Delhi Daredevils — and take the team a step closer to the playoffs in the Vivo IPL at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Saturday night.
Daredevils paid a heavy price when Glenn Maxwell dropped Hales (on nine) when the latter pulled straight to him off pacer Avesh Khan in the second over of the innings.
Ironically, in the same over, Avesh was pulled nonchalantly by Dhawan for a six. Hales then cleared the fence thrice as Avesh conceded 27 in the sixth over.
Hales was eventually bowled by a beauty from leggie Amit Mishra, most impressive of all, Later, he also cleaned up Dhawan, bowling him round the legs to provide Daredevils some hope.
But, that was not to be as captain Kane Williamson was there till the end to guide the team home even as Yusuf Pathan struck a few lusty blows when mattered.
Sunrisers’ bowling — which wilted in the first-half of the innings when the rampaging opener Prithvi Shaw and classy Shreyas Iyer were involved in an 86-run stand for the second wicket off 51 balls — came back strongly to restrict Daredevils, which elected to bat, to 163 for five in 20 overs.
After a cautious start in the first over bowled by Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Prithvi looked in ominous touch, hitting Sandeep Sharma for a straight six. But, off the next ball, he had the misfortune of seeing his backdrive deflect off the bowler’s left hand on to the stumps, which left non-striker Maxwell stranded in the second over.
However, Prithvi was unruffled as he changed gears hitting left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan’s first ball for an inside-out six. then he picked pacer Siddarth Kaul for special treatment in his first over — slamming an imperious six over long-on and picking three fours — in his first and the innings’ sixth over.
With Shaw going berserk, the Sunrisers’ bowling suddenly looked ordinary. Soon, Shreyas stepped on the pedal, hoicking Shakib over long-on and cutting the left-armer to the fence.
Leggie Rashid Khan struck a big blow in the 11th over inducing a sweep from Shaw and the leading edge was caught comfortably at short third-man.
Daredevils looked good at 125 for two after 15 overs but off the first ball of the next over from Kaul, Shreyas flicked straight to the deep mid-wicket fielder.
A struggling Rishabh Pant was first involved in a bad mix-up which saw striker Naman Ojha stranded at his end; then he himself was dismissed lbw going for an ambitious pull off Rashid, who was outstanding again, to reduce Daredevils to 134 for five in16.5 overs.
Thanks to a breezy knock by Vijay Shankar in the end, Daredevils managed to post a far more respectable score than what it seemed at the end of 18 overs.