Against the third-best best attack of this IPL, David Warner scored a sensational 126 off 59 balls as Sunrisers Hyderabad served notice to the two table-toppers with a dominating win. Kolkata Knight Riders, Warner’s victims on the night, and Mumbai Indians still remained at the top of the table with 14 points, but Sunrisers were now breathing down their necks, just one point behind.
Some of the best batsmen in the world watched and tweeted in awe as Warner took the Knight Riders attack through the shredders. It didn’t make as much noise as Chris Gayle’s 175, but at one stage Warner threatened a double hundred. This was the fifth-fastest IPL century, but the amount of strike Warner took made the big difference. He reached his century in the 11th over, having faced 43 balls by then already. His share of strike reduced in the following deliveries – 16 out of 32 – and he eventually perished playing yet another big shot. Despite an underwhelming – relatively speaking – second half, Sunrisers managed their highest total and the highest by any team against Knight Riders. And they have only ever failed to defend scores of over 175 on three occasions. Given the depth in their bowling, there was no addition being made to the list on this night, not in Hyderabad where they have now five straight matches.
Warner steps out
There was something about Warner from the moment he walked out. To the first ball of the innings, he charged down the track and tried to hit Nathan Coulter-Nile out of the ground. This was a bowler whom Knight Riders used as a strike weapon: in four matches, he had taken 11 wickets, with at least two in every match. Warner wanted to eliminate his threat. He managed only six off that over, but got stuck into Umesh Yadav and Chris Woakes, taking Sunrisers to 35 in three overs.
That forced Gautam Gambhir to call upon Yusuf Pathan for only the third time this IPL – he had previously started overs against Suresh Raina and Aaron Finch, and Warner and Shikhar Dhawan – with reasonable success. This time, though, Warner hit him for four, four and six. Sunrisers 52 for 0 in four overs.
Knight Riders were not holding back. Now came Sunil Narine. Immediately Warner went down on a knee and switch-hit the first ball for a six over point. Knight Riders had tried every thing, but Warner was unstoppable. Sunrisers 67 for 0 after five.The luck Warner faced 59 balls and hit 18 boundaries. That is one boundary every third ball. And you have to attempt them more often to have this boundary-per-ball rate. It’s quite feasible Warner attempted to hit a boundary every second ball, and if you do that you need some luck to last 59 balls. It arrived when Warner skied a pull off an Umesh slower ball in the second over. Woakes misjudged it, back-pedalling instead of turning around and running. Had he done so, he might have made that catch and possibly sent Warner back for 13.
The next time Warner was dropped, by Woakes again, he was moving from 86 to 92, having peppered all boundaries with all kinds of shots.
The late control
Knight Riders did well to pull Sunrisers back from 123 for 0 in 10 overs. Dhawan struggled for fluency, scoring 29 off 30, but the duo must have done something right because Warner had faced 46 balls by then, a ratio that had been much higher earlier. Umesh made a good comeback with pace variations, Woakes finally got Warner out, but the classy Kane Williamson’s 25-ball 40 still made sure Sunrisers crossed 200. Uthappa on the burning deck
Okay, burning deck is a little too dramatic, especially when it did rain for 45 minutes in the middle of the chase, but once Knight Riders lost Narine and Gambhir early they were always up against it. Robin Uthappa, though, had other ideas, hitting four sixes and four fours in the 28 balls that he faced, and that after having to stabilise the innings a little. The highlight was playing Rashid Khan like an offspinner and slogging him for two enormous sixes.
However, once local boy Mohammed Siraj got Uthappa with a slower ball in the 13th over, for a 28-ball 53, the 101 required in 45 balls was always going to be too much against the second-best attack in the competition. (Cricinfo)