Hyderabad, April 9: Opener Shikhar Dhawan and skipper Kane Williamson made light work of the chase to give Sunrisers Hyderabad a thumping 9-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals in their opening game of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 here on Monday (April 9).
Dhawan (77* off 57 balls) made a statement of intent as he began his campaign in IPL 2018 on a positive note and smashed an unbeaten half-century. Skipper Williamson (36* off 35) too had a brilliant start as he scored runs, took a fine catch, effected brilliant run out and even utilised his bowlers to perfection.
Coming out to chase a paltry target of 126, the hosts overhauled it in 15.5 overs without any trouble. The fact that the hosts had 25 balls to spare at the end of the run chase proves how big the victory margin it was.
The only wicket Sunrisers lost was that of Wriddhiman Saha, who was dismissed for 5. But Dhawan and Williamson batted with ease and put up an unbeaten partnership of 121 for the second wicket. The duo made batting look easy as they gave Hyderabad the perfect start to the tournament.
Dhawan didn't let the hosts feel the absence of their batting mainstay and star opener David Warner, who is not a part of the franchise this year. The southpaw looked in great touch from the start and went on to convert his knock into a big one.
The five-man attack all contributing with wickets, and were able to restrict the opposition well too was the highlight of the match for Sunrisers. 125 was never going to be enough to defend, but the Royals bowled poorly.
Rajasthan have a lot to think about before their next game. Royals skipper Rahane tried seven different bowlers in 16 overs and none of them gave the desired results and this is the department they'll have to work on. Even the batsmen looked out of sorts when they came out to bat.
Earlier, bowlers justified Hyderabad skipper Williamson's decision to bowl first as they restricted Rajasthan Royals to a paltry 125/9. It was a combined bowling effort from the bowlers as they kept things pretty tight for the visitors and didn't let them score freely.
The pace trio of Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1/30), Billy Stanlake (1/29) and Siddarth Kaul (2/17) played their part to perfection and kept things tight for the visitors. While the duo of Rashid Khan (1/23) and Shakib Al Hasan (2/23) proved why it is considered a lethal spin combination as they bowled miserly and picked up wickets as well.
Shakib gave the visitors two big jolts in a single over and broke the backbone of their innings as he removed well set Sanju Samson (49) and Rahul Tripathi (17) in a single over.
Australian T20 sensation D Arcy Short couldn't do much as he was dismissed for 4 in the first over of his debut innings in the IPL. He was run out in the over bowled by Bhuvneshwar Kumar while sneaking a single but a direct-hit from Williamson found the left-handed batsman short of the crease.
Outstanding by @SunRisers. Like they did when they won in 2016, they have focussed on quality bowling.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) April 9, 2018
Skipper Ajinkya Rahane then recovered the innings with the new-man-in Sanju Samson and took the team's total past 50. The duo scored quickly in the powerplay overs but Rahane's stay into the middle didn't last long as he attempted a shot against Siddarth Kaul but the ball landed directly into the safe hands of Rashid Khan.
But the biggest wicket of the Rajasthan innings fell in the 9th over when the biggest name in the side Ben Stokes was dismissed by Stanlake for 6. Stokes hit the Aussie hard for a boundary but found Williamson in the deep as he juggled but kept his hands on the ball to end the Englishman's innings.
Sanju Samson (49 off 42) was the highest scorer for Rajasthan as he fell just one short of his first half-century of this season. Barring him, no other batsman could offer any resistance against a lethal bowling attack. Shreyas Gopal (18 off 18), however, played a run-a-ball cameo and helped his team cross the triple-figure mark.