The conditions were overcast and had already rained on the match eve in Hyderabad. The best seam attack on performance this IPL, the Sunrisers Hyderabad, couldn’t ask for more. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashish Nehra and Mustafizur made hay as the sun did not shine on the pitch. Gujarat Lions came into this match with 2 consecutive losses behind them and would have surely wanted to bounce back. Having been sitting pretty on the top of the points table till now, they had to justify their rank. Instead they ended up skidding a place down to No. 2 in the tally now.
Everything went as per the plan for the Sunrisers. They won the toss again and put Gujarat Lions into bat first on a helpful wicket.
The gains were immediate as the Sunrisers started with consecutive maidens from both ends with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ashish Nehra making it difficult for the batsmen to even touch the ball to their bats. What adds to their credit is that the batsmen on strike were Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith and they did not let the pressure off as Bhuvneshwar had the wicket of Smith in the next over making it 2 for 1 for the Lions. Raina did try to undo the bowlers with a couple of sixes early on but could not continue further. Lions lost wickets at quick intervals to be reduced to 34 for 4 in the 8th Over.
Dwayne Bravo and Aaron Finch tried to steady the ship for a while but could not really help the run rate.
The Lions looked to get no more than 105 – 110 runs but a late surge from Finch and Jadeja saw them reach 126 for 6 in their 20 overs. A target of 127 could not be considered a fighting one as the pitch had started to ease up and was no way near what it was at the start of the match.
Small run chases can often be tricky but Sunrisers captain and opener David Warner denied any space to the bowlers to sneak in with a quick fire 24 off just 17 balls to get the momentum going for his side. A target of 127 meant that the batsmen could afford to take some time to settle without having to take any risks. This approach surely worked for Shikhar Dhawan as he help one end but the other end kept giving away wickets to keep the opposition interested. Yuvraj Singh made his debut today for the sunrisers but failed to impress with a score of 5 runs from 14 balls.
The Sunrisers were reduced to 88 for 4 in 14 overs but managed to overhaul the target with an over and 5 wickets to spare. Dhawan walked off unbeaten at 47 from 40 balls.
The Sunrisers are moving from strength to strength with their bowling in prime form and Warner scoring heavily in each match. The form of other batsman will be of concern but the overall team performance has been exceptional. Gujarat Lions, on the other hand will need to pick themselves up to put their campaign back on track. Such performances at the business end of the tournament could be detrimental to their confidence and could put extra pressure on the players.