David Warner showed his duck against Rising Pune Supergiants was just a one-off blip in an otherwise red-hot streak.
Much like the 25-ball 58 against Royal Challengers Bangalore in their first face-off this season, Warner hammered the visitors’ attack to all parts of the ground during his 50-ball 92, his fifth fifty in seven matches. That knock led Sunrisers Hyderabad to the top half of the table with a 15-run win. The sides managed to get a full 40-over game despite a delayed start by an hour due to intermittent rain.
Warner used his force, timing and gigantic bat to pick boundaries regularly. He found an able partner in Kane Williamson, who scored 50 off 38 and shared a second-wicket stand of 124 runs in 12.1 overs that charged Sunrisers to 194 for 5, their highest total of the season. The Royal Challengers chase showed promising signs initially and the hosts helped them by dropping AB de Villiers twice, but Sunrisers’ quicks and the pressure of a rising asking rate were too much for the visitors.
Virat Kohli opted to bowl and Warner changed gears after Shikhar Dhawan handed a return catch to Kane Richardson in the fourth over. Harshal Patel was introduced into the attack in the sixth over and Warner showcased his power-hitting, collecting 16 runs to launch Sunrisers’ run rate into an orbit from which Royal Challengers could not pull it back.
Williamson nudged the ball around to give Warner the strike in his slow start. The Royal Challengers spinners, Parvez Rasool and Tabraiz Shamsi, applied a speed breaker briefly by not conceding a boundary off 11 successive deliveries. Warner, however, went deep into the crease to tackle Rasool’s flat deliveries and Shamsi’s wrong’uns.
But once the quicks came back, Williamson took charge with a variety of fours in the next two overs – a flick, an edge and a whip – which pushed the run rate close to 8.50. Warner targeted Richardson in the 15th over with powerful and well-placed shots that lifted the scoring rate past 9. The Sunrisers captain holed out to long-off in the next over, and Williamson and Naman Ojha fell within four balls, but Moises Henriques’ 14-ball 31 with three sixes propelled Sunrisers close to 200.
Without Chris Gayle, who was not picked despite being available, Royal Challengers’ chase was dependent largely on Kohli and de Villiers. KL Rahul kick-started the innings with flowing boundaries on the off side using sheer timing and placement. However, Mustafizur Rahman handed them the first blow in his first over when Kohli crunched him straight to backward point, for 14.
Sunrisers could have derailed the chase further when de Villiers, on 3, skied a short ball to fine leg, where Ashish Nehra made a mess of an easy catch. Rahul continued to cream boundaries on the off side and brought up his fifty off 26 balls. Sunrisers, though, hit back when Moises Henriques produced a thin outside edge from Rahul’s bat and Watson’s run-out for 2 in the bowler’s next over left them on 90 for 3.
In between the two dismissals, another de Villiers catch was put down: the batsman pinned the ball to extra cover but Deepak Hooda could not hold on. In the 14th over it looked like de Villiers was going to make Sunrisers pay for the reprieves. He clubbed two short balls from Henriques for mighty sixes, but the threat did not last long as he handed his third catch of the night off Sran’s bowling. Williamson, at long-on, leapt forward to get his fingers under it. At that stage, Royal Challengers needed 66 from 32 and with Mustafizur’s two overs still in hand, the task was too stiff.
Sachin Baby tried to keep them in the hunt with fearless attempts that fetched him three fours and a six in a 16-ball 27. Kedar Jadhav targeted the leg side for two sixes but those weren’t enough to lift Royal Challengers, who are placed second from the bottom in the points table.