Going down to the wire
Ice-cool and experienced, Kane Williamson is not the sort of a person to get swayed by emotions. However, when the Sunrisers Hyderabad captain squeezed out the winning boundary against Dan Christian, the enormity of the situation got the better off the 28-year-old. Because that shot helped Williamson’s team chase down Daredevils’ score of 163/5 — their highest successful chase of the season.
The win propelled Sunrisers to the top of the table, while it’s all but over for the Daredevils now. After doing a commendable job of restricting the Daredevils to a par score, Hyderabad’s batsmen looked like messing up a straight forward chase. True, the Uppal pitch was sluggish and strokeplay was getting increasingly difficult. When Manish Pandey holed out in the first delivery of the 17th over, the home side still required 32 runs for a win. Pathan, who was dropped on 0 by Vijay Shankar, cashed in on the slice of luck to take his side home with a brace of sixes. Williamson, on the other end, remained unbeaten on 35.
Frenzied start, tepid finish
Since an out of form Gautam Gambhir stepped down as captain and was then benched, the onus of scoring was taken over by the team’s three young batsmen — captain Shreyas Iyer, opener Prithvi Shaw and wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant.
The trio has turned things around for the Dardevils with their unorthodox, yet exuberant approach. Just to put things into perspective, Shaw, Iyer and Pant have combined in the nine games to score 60% of the total runs for the Daredevils. Against the Sunrisers Hyderabad, the early loss of Glenn Maxwell did not deter the visitors.
It meant their two most productive batsmen — Shaw and Iyer — would hog the limelight. The 19-year-old Shaw has grown in confidence after every outing in this IPL. Against a hard white ball, and a pitch that hardly offered any assitance to the fast bowlers, the Mumbaikar launched into the Sunrisers attack, flaying them to all corners of Uppal. He raced to his fifty in just 25 deliveries, and his confidence upfront allowed Iyer to play himself in. Shaw was ultimately done in by leg-spinner Rashid Khan for 65. After 10 overs, Daredevils had notched up 95/1, and harboured hopes of scoring 200. However, once the white ball lost its shine, batting looked increasing difficult on the sluggish pitch. The Sunrisers’ bowlers, too, were upto the task in the second half. Khan and Hyderabad’s astute medium-pacers, teamed up well to restrict Iyer’s team to a middling score of 163.
The choke is on Pant
An unusual aspect in Rishabh Pant’s batting is that he does not have a firm, solid base while unleashing his monstrous strokes.
He’s always on the move, and on most occasions, looks extremely ungainly in his shot-execution. This unorthodox approach has given the Delhi Daredevils wicket-keeper batsman lot of success. Against the Sunrisers, who have the most varied and intelligent bowling attacks in this competition, Pant found the going tough. Sunrisers came up with a simple plan to thwart Pant — bowl wide and force him reach out. On the face of it, the plan looked pretty simplistic. But Hyderabad’s bowlers had the skill and gumption to back it up.
Siddharth Kaul and Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled a plethora of knuckle deliveries. They were supported by leg-spinner Khan, who bottled the other end up with his fastish wrong-uns. Pant, who likes to kick-start his innings with a flurry of blistering hits, could barely find his timing. All he could muster were those odd checked drives. This pegged Daredevils scoring in the middle overs, and Pant struggled in his 19-ball vigil, which yielded just 18 runs.
Brief Scores:Delhi Daredevils 163/5 in 20 ovs (P Shaw 65, S Iyer 44; R Khan 2/23) vs Sunrisers Hyderabad 164/3 in 19.5 ovs (A Hales 45, S Dhawan 33, K Williamson 32 n.o., Y Pathan 27 no.o; A Mishra 2/19)
SUNDAY’S MATCHES: Mumbai vs Kolkata, 4 pm, Mumbai; Punjab vs Rajasthan, 8 pm, Indore