It turned out to be more or less one way traffic at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, as hosts Sunrisers Hyderabad romped home with a comfortable 9 wickets win against Gujarat Lions. Opener David Warner blew away the Gujarat bowling attack to win their match in IPL 10. Gujarat had set a paltry target of 136 runs for SRH to chase and the latter reached that target with 27 balls to spare.
Going into the afternoon game, both teams had to take calls on the make-up of their teams. Tom Moody, the coach of SRH, has suggested that minimal changes might be made for Sunday’s clash, but GL’s policy of going in with four overseas batsmen backfired spectacularly after deciding to stick to it.
The defending champions started off from where they left last season. Against last year’s runners-up, Royal Challengers Bangalore, they performed like a well oiled machine, thrashing a below par unit, by a massive 35-run margin. It’s still early into the tournament, but Suresh Raina’s and his team certainly won’t like to be 0-2 in the win-loss sequence so early into the tournament.
Initially the Gujarat Lions got a lucky breakthrough with Dhawan skewing a full toss and apart from that Sunrisers Hyderabad have looked in complete control. Gujarat Lions have the same problem in the bowling department.
Warner found perfect support from Moises Henriques at the other end who scored his second successive fifty in this edition. Almost fittingly, Warner got the job done with a six and the duo remained unbeaten at the end with Warner on 76 and Henriques on 52.
But what was most impressive was how Rashid Khan operated in the bowling attack. from one end and picked wickets at regular intervals. Using all his subtle variations he went through GL’s batting order. His variations helped picked three wickets in the middle to dismiss Brendon McCullum, Suresh Raina and Aaron Finch.
GL put together 56 runs for the fifth wicket as Dwayne Smith and Dinesh Karthik took the visitors going. But as Smith fell to Bhuvneshwar Kumar, DK followed soon after to Ashish Nehra and Rashid got involved with his fielding to catch Dhawal Kulkarni short.
In the contest, Warner got to his 1000th run at ‘home’ in Bangalore and 7000th T20 run. With this, Warner is back amongst the runs after a poor run during the India-Australia Test series and in the IPL opener.