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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

IPL 2021: Sun rises late as bottom-placed Hyderabad defeat Rajasthan Royals

Jason Roy races on Sunrisers Hyderabad debut. Sanju Samson gets Orange Cap, but Rajasthan Royals fizzle.

Written by Shamik Chakrabarty |
Updated: September 28, 2021 7:40:07 am
SRH captain Kane Williamson celebrates the win against RR with Abhishek Sharma. (IPL)

In the end, it was a facile win for Sunrisers Hyderabad that took them to four points from 10 matches. But it was a win after all, something they had been desperately searching for. Jason Roy’s 60 off 42 balls set up the seven-wicket victory with nine balls remaining. Kane Williamson put the finishing touches, scoring a classy 51 not out off 41 balls. As the gloom was partially lifted in the SRH camp, Rajasthan Royals slipped into uncertainty.

Roy races on debut

He was stepping into big shoes. Dropping David Warner despite his recent string of low scores hinted at shake-up. The Australian opener had started the season as SRH captain. A mid-tournament captaincy snub later, he was out of the playing XI even.

Roy was under pressure at the outset. But his England experience and quality saw him through. Anything in the hitting zone, he attacked. Three fours in a Chris Morris over helped him up the ante. His ability to maximise the width was first-class. His clobbering of leg-spinner Rahul Tewatia – a six and three fours in an over – was even more exciting. All the while, Royals bowlers bowled boundary balls aplenty.

When the opener got out, SRH needed 51 off 48 balls. Priyam Garg returned on his heels and given the team’s propensity to back-end implosions, it could have been alarm bells. But Williamson played a lovely innings and was aided by a young Abhishek Sharma.

For the first one hour in this game, SRH looked poor, at times bordering on the abject. Their bowlers bowled on both sides of the wicket to start with. The way Jason Holder back-pedalled and dropped Jaiswal, a catch that should have been taken, reeked of casualness. It felt like SRH were going through the motions until they upped their game towards the latter half of the Royals innings. Fine death-overs bowling from Bhuvneshwar Kumar contributed to the improvement.

Samson gets Orange Cap

During his 57-ball 82, the Royals captain played nice shots, the best being a six over long-off against Rashid Khan. He stepped down the track, made room, but the ball turned a wee-bit. Samson, though, made adjustments, opened his shoulders and launched it over the fence. Samson is easy on the eye, when he bats in full flow. Reading googlies has been a weak area in his batting, but through his nimble footwork, Samson today didn’t allow Khan to settle into a groove.

A tally of 433 runs from 10 matches took Samson on top of the run-scoring charts to claim the Orange Cap from Shikhar Dhawan. Personally, this would be satisfying for the ‘keeper-batsman in his first season as Royals captain. But his team proved to be a letdown. Lack of proper planning took the momentum out of Royals’ batting and they ended up being at least 20 runs short. A win in this game would have taken them to the top four. They had an apparently dispirited SRH to take care of. But Royals remain also-rans.

Royals fizzle

After 10 overs, Royals were 77/2. Liam Livingstone was new to the crease, carrying the reputation of his electric performance in The Hundred. Asian conditions, however, are a little different. Some circumspection to start with would have done Livingstone no harm. But he went for a pull against a Khan top-spinner and was out caught.

Livingstone is such a fantastic hitter with a big range that a few overs from him could have taken his team well past 180. In the second phase of the IPL in UAE, top teams like Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals have been thriving on a clear batting plan. After Powerplay, they are attacking from one end, while a batsman at the other end is trying to go deep.

Royals had Samson to bat through the innings. Some calculated aggression was needed around him. They tried to attack from both ends and a 20-run over Siddarth Kaul notwithstanding, they allowed SRH to claw their way back.

After Livingstone’s dismissal, Samson had to play a mixed, anchor-cum-aggressor, role. It made Royals’ progress chequered. And when in the last over they lost two wickets inside three balls, they ended up posting a very chasable total.

While bowling also, why Mustafizur Rahman and Chetan Sakariya weren’t given the new ball was anybody’s guess. Roy was playing his first game and should have faced the two best seamers in the opposition ranks upfront. Jaydev Unadkat looked undercooked and Morris’ pace worked to the SRH openers’ advantage.

Fielding was poor as well. A ball went through Samson’s legs. Jaiswal dropped Roy off Tewatia at extra-cover. This game demanded precision from Royals. They fell prey to their mediocrity instead.

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