David Warner could not have asked for a better gift on his birthday. Everything went perfectly for the Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper on his big day. Warner first plundered 34-ball 66 and then led his side to a thumping 88-run victory against Delhi Capitals to celebrate his birthday in style.
In a must-win match, SRH rose to the occasion with a much improved display to floor high flying Delhi Capitals in the Dream11 Indian Premier League at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.
Warner, Wriddhiman Saha and Manish Pandey dazzled with the bat and later in the day SRH bowlers complimented the efforts of the trio to notch up a crucial win.
The fifth win in 12 matches has helped SRH to jump to the sixth position with ten points under their belt. The Warner-led side will have to win both their remaining ties with big margins to stay in contention for a spot in the playoffs.
Spectacular batting display by Saha, Warner and Pandey propelled SRH to amass a huge total of 219 for 2 in the 47th match of the IPL.
Delhi Capitals skipper Shreyas Iyer won the toss and opted to field first. His decision backfired completely as SRH went all out from the first delivery of the match on an ideal batting strip.
Warner, who turned 34 on Tuesday, led from the front and played a stunning innings of 66 off just 34 balls. The SRH were very clear in their minds and they wanted to garner as many runs as possible from the six overs of powerplay.
Thanks to a massive attack launched by Warner and Saha on the opposition bowlers, SRH managed to score 77 in the six overs. Most of the runs came from the blade of Warner as the skipper completed his half-century inside the powerplay. This is the sixth time he has done it and first in this season of IPL by any batsman.
Warner and Saha were so dominant that they reached 113 for 1 at the half-way stage after racing to 55 for no loss in the five overs.
Warner departed for 66 as he was caught by Axar Patel in the covers off Ravichandran Ashwin. The skipper plundered eight fours and a couple of maximums to provide his team a flying start with a brisk partnership of 107.
Saha then swung into action after the dismissal of Warner. He changed gears rapidly as he rained fours and sixes at will. The wicketkeeper-batsman looked set for his maiden IPL hundred but was caught by Shreyas Iyer inside the circle at mid-off while trying to hit Anrich Nortje but could not timed it. Sahaâ€™s sensational innings of 87 came off 45 deliveries and laced with 12 fours and two sixes.
Pandey carried the momentum further by remaining unbeaten on 44 off 31 balls. The No. 3 batsman cracked four boundaries.
Kane Williamson was the only disappointment. The experienced batsman could not give the finish as his team would have hoped for and could muster only 11 not out off 10 balls.
The two teams have faced each other 16 times in the IPL so far, and SRH have dominated the rivalry by winning it 10 times. In the first leg at the same venue on October 8, the Hyderabad-based franchise handed the Delhi-based side a 15-run defeat.
Chasing a daunting target of 220, DC got off to a disastrous start and could never recover from that. Back-to-back century maker Shikhar Dhawan was dismissed without scoring, while pinch-hitter Marcus Stoinis went for 5 as DC reduced to 14 for 2.
Ajinkya Rahane (26) and Shimron Hetmyer (16) tried to steady the rocking ship but the ever-increasing asking rate forced them to make mistakes.
Rishabh Pant did his best to arrest the slide by accumulating 36 runs but other batsmen simply couldnâ€™t offer any resistance.
Rashid Khan emerged as the most successful bowler for SRH. The ever reliable leg-break bowler returned with his best figures in the IPL by scalping three wickets at the cost of mere 7 runs.
T Natarajan and Sandeep Sharma picked up a couple of wickets each, while Shahbaz Nadeem, Vijay Shankar and Jason Holder chipped in with a wicket apiece.
On Wednesday, table toppers Mumbai Indians will clash with Royal Challengers Bangalore at Abu Dhabi. Both the teams have 14 points to their credit. The winner will be the first team to clinch a berth in the playoffs.
Sunrisers Hyderabad 219 for 2 in 20 overs (Wriddhiman Saha 87, David Warner 66, Manish Pandey 44 not out, Kane Williamson 11 not out; Ravichandran Ashwin 1-35, Anrich Nortje 1-37) beat Delhi Capitals 131 all out in 19 overs (Rishabh Pant 36, Ajinkya Rahane 26, Tushar Deshpande 20 not out, Shimron Hetmyer 16; Rashid Khan 3-7, T Natarajan 2-26, Sandeep Sharma 2-27, Shahbaz Nadeem 1-8, Vijay Shankar 1-11, Jason Holder 1-46) by 88 runs.
Man-of-the-match: Wriddhiman Saha (SRH).