April 10, 2018 09:25 AM NPT
Photo Courtesy: Agencies
HYDERABAD, April 10: Opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan capitalized on a reprieve when on naught as he smashed an unbeaten 77 to help Sunrisers Hyderabad drub Rajasthan Royals by nine wickets in their opening match of the IPL-11 here on Monday.
Chasing a paltry 126 for a win, Dhawan was dropped in the first over by captain Ajinkya Rahane and that blunder cost the visiting side dear in the end.
Dhawan (77 not out off 57 balls) grew into confidence and in the company of his captain Kane Williamson (36 not out off 35 balls), tore apart the Royals bowling attack as the Sunrisers overhauled the target with 4.1 overs to spare.
The absence of the Australian David Warner was hardly felt as Dhawan and Williamson stitched 121 runs for the unbroken second wicket from 14.2 overs.
Wriddhiman Saha, who was promoted to the top of the order to take Warner's place, was out for five in the second over but from there on Dhawan and Williamson denied any success to the listless Royals bowlers.
Dhawan hit 13 fours and a six to carry his bat through the innings while Williamson had three fours and a six as the Sunrisers reached 127 for one in 15.5 overs.
Earlier, Sunrisers produced a disciplined bowling display to restrict the Royals to a meager total. The home side bowlers justified captain Williamson's decision to put the opposition in after winning the toss, as the Royals struggled to score runs on a pitch that got the turn as the match wore on.
Sanju Samson top-scored with a 42-ball 49, and his 46-run stand with Rahane (13) for the second wicket was the highest partnership for Royals. One-down Samson looked like he would anchor the innings after Rahane was out early but he also got dismissed in the 14th over, just one run short of a half-century.
For Sunrisers, Shakib Al Hasan and Siddharth Kaul grabbed two wickets apiece while Afghan leg-spinner Rashid Khan, Australian pacer Billy Stanlake and Bhuvneshwar Kumar got one wicket each.
Sunrisers got immediate success after the start of the match as the Royals' opening batsman D Arcy Short was caught short of his crease. Williamson's rocket throw from the mid-off rattled the wickets in the final ball of Bhuvneshwar's opening over.
Rahane departed after he was caught by Rashid at deep off the bowling of Kaul.
A miserly over from Rashid was followed by Ben Stokes' (5) dismissal off Stanlake as the Royals were 71 for three at the halfway mark.
Samson, meanwhile, was going steady but wickets kept falling at the other end. Rahul Tripathi (17) gave him company for some time but did not last long as he became Shakib's first victim.
Samson followed suit three balls later, giving Shakib his second wicket of the night and at that stage, the Royals innings was in tatters.
Krishnappa Gowtham could not open his account from the two balls he faced and fell victim of Kaul.
Englishman Jos Butler was left to add some runs to the Royals kitty but he too could score just six from nine balls.