Like every IPL side, Hyderabad Sunrisers has to balance high quality international players with less capable domestic ones. With Aaron Finch, Shikhar Dhawan and David Warner batting at one, two and three, the domestic talent is shielded, somewhat, in the middle order. And while on Friday, in the match against Delhi Daredevils, Naman Ojha was brought in to add some stiffness in the midsection, the gameplan had been to hope the top three get the big runs, because, the rest of the lineup wasn’t likely to.
In their first couple of games Finch, Dhawan and Warner had failed to fire and consequently, Sunrisers had folded cheaply. On Friday, though, Finch (88 n.o), Warner (58 n.o) and Dhawan (33) all got in among the runs and helped the Sunrisers post 184/1 while batting first. The total — the highest ever in the history of the franchise — proved to be just about enough. Daredevils fell short by four runs, handing Sunrisers their first win in three games.
Daredevils shouldn’t have had to chase as many as they did. The short course of the season has seen a number of catches being dropped and that exactly what happened during the Sunrisers innings as well.
Both Dhawan and Warner got chances. Dhawan was on 26, when he cut Parnell straight to point only for Manoj Tiwary to fumble it down. Warner was luckier still. He had yet to open his account when a thick edge off left arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem popped out off ‘keeper Dinesh Karthik’s gloves.
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Then, when Warner was still struggling to clear the field and was batting on 31 off 32, Tiwary once again spilled a skier off the unlucky Parnell.
Finch didn’t receive any favours but that was because he gave fewer chances. Circumspect early on, he let Dhawan set the tempo while he got his eye in. He and Dhawan put together 55 in 6.2 overs off which he contributed 19 off 16 balls. Finch stepped it up, however, when Warner joined him. In the 10th over, JP Duminy speared a ball wide of off stump, which Finch made room for and went through with the shot one-handed. It went for six.
The Sunrisers had yet to get to their hundred after 14 overs but they had wickets in hand. The two well-set batsmen at the crease would accelerate powerfully later on. Laxmi Ratan Shukla went for 19 in the 15th over, Parnell for 10 in the one after that. Nadeem then went for 11 in the 17th and 21 was taken off Jaydev Unadkat in the 18th, an over in which Finch hit a hattrick of fours before crunching the last ball over the extra cover boundary.
Warner too got into the act, reverse scooping Delhi pacer Mohammed Shami for six in the penultimate over before hitting him over his head for a four. Finch finished emphatically with a six — his fourth to go with eight boundaries — over cow-corner off Undakat. The two Australians had put together 128 runs in 13. 4 overs with 85 coming off the last six.
Delhi got a good start to the chase with a 99-run stand for the first wicket between Murali Vijay and Quinton de Kock, but the required rate was always climbing. De Kock hit a 30-ball 48 with six fours and a flicked six to long leg off Dale Steyn. The South African, however, fell — caught at midwicket while going for another six — off Karn Sharma. Vijay got to a half century with an edged boundary off Darren Sammy but fell off the very next delivery — also caught on the boundary.
At this point, much depended on Dinesh Karthik and Kevin Pietersen — Delhi’s captain who had sat out the two previous games owing to a hand injury. The two though struggled to match the rate and both went off consecutive deliveries off Steyn, both while looking to clear the field. Fifty runs off 19 balls was the equation at that stage. Duminy and Tiwary got some big hits but could manage only 45.