Sunrisers Hyderabad finally opened their account in the Dream11 Indian Premier League with a much needed 15-run victory against table toppers Delhi Capitals at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
After two defeats in as many ties, the former champions were desperately aiming to see those crucial two points against their name in the points tally. They raised their level of performance by few notches to shock leaders and in-form Delhi Capitals with a superb all-round effort.
The major credit for this morale boosting win must go to the Sunrisers Hyderabad bowlers. They compensated for the average show by the batsmen earlier in the day.
All the SRH bowlers bowled their heart out and defended 162 runs with aplomb. Rashid Khan did the maximum damage to the opposition with his three-wicket haul. The Afghanistan leggie did what was expected of him in the vital encounter. Rashid conceded mere 14 runs in his brilliant four-over spell to ground high-flying Delhi Capitals.
Chasing a modest target of 163, Delhi capitals did not have the best of the starts. Last match hero Prithvi Shaw was sent early to the dugout by Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The medium-pacer then came back later to get rid of dangerous-looking Shimron Hetmyer (21: 12 balls, 2×6).
After the early departures of Shaw and skipper Shyreas Iyer (17), Shikhar Dhawan (34: 31 balls, 4×4) and Rishabh Pant (32: 27 balls, 1×4, 2×6) batted doggedly but could not accelerate the scoring.
Besides Rashid and Bhuvneshwar, seamers T Natarajan (1-29) and Khaleel Ahmed (1-43) also bowled well to restrict the opponents.
Earlier, Sunrisers Hyderabad, the champions in the 2016 edition, batsmen flopped again as they could muster a modest score of 162 for 4.
DC skipper Shreyas Iyer won the toss and opted to field first. His new-ball bowlers justified the captain’s decision as they bowled a tidy length giving hardly any room for Sunrisers Hyderabad openers Jonny Bairstow and David Warner to play their natural strokes.
Kagiso Rabada was the most impressive of the DC bowlers. The tall speedster maintained his reputation as one of the most economical bowlers in the world with yet another outstanding effort. The South African paceman conceded just 21 runs off his four overs and also captured two important wickets.
Warner and Bairstow added 77 for the first wicket before the SRH skipper was caught behind by Rishabh Pant off Amit Mishra in the tenth over. Warner was not fluent as he normally was at the centre and scored 45 off 33 balls which included three fours and two sixes.
Bairstow (53: 48 balls, 2×4, 1×6) completed his second half-century in three matches this season but he too was unable to push up the scoring rate.
Kane Williamson then swung into action and smashed 41 off just 26 balls to boost the innings towards the end. The New Zealand skipper, who was rested for the first two matches by SRH, straightway got going and proved his value to the team with clean hitting. He struck five boundaries to improve his team’s run-rate in the last few overs.
Debutant Abdul Samad slammed an unbeaten 12 not out off 7 balls with the help of a six and a four.
Leg-spinner Amit Mishra once again contributed his worth by taking two crucial wickets.
Despite defeat, Delhi Capitals are leading the table with four points, while SRH jumped to the sixth spot with two points.
On Wednesday, Rajasthan Royals will lock horns with Kolkata Knight Riders at Dubai.
Sunrisers Hyderabad 162 for 4 in 20 overs (Jonny Bairstow 53, David Warner 45, Kane Williamson 41, Abdul Samad 12 not out; Kagiso Rabada 2 for 21, Amit Mishra 2 for 35) beat Delhi Capitals 147 for 7 in 20 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 34, Rishabh Pant 32, Shimron Hetmyer 21, Shreyas Iyer 17, Kagiso Rabada 15 not out, Marcus Stoinis 11; Rashid Khan 3 for 14, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 2 for 25, T Natarajan 1 for 29, Khaleel Ahmed 1 for 43) by 15 runs.
Man-of-the-match: Rashid Khan (Sunrisers Hyderabad).