Sunrisers Hyderabad opened their account in VIVO IPL 2018 in grand style after they defeated the returning Rajasthan Royals by nine wickets at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad last night. SRH, after winning the toss and opting to field, were clinical with the ball and in the field, and restricted the visitors to a paltry 125-9. In the latter part of the match, Shikhar Dhawan made lightwork of the chase, helping himself to a half-century. His unbeaten 121-run second-wicket partnership with captain Kane Williamson took SRH across the line in the 16th over.
Earlier in the Rajasthan Royals’ innings, Sanju Samson’s was the only knock of note. The 23-year old started off briskly, scoring 35 off the first 25 balls he faced, but then slowed down, and eventually perished for 49 (made from 42 balls) while attempting to break loose. The RR innings played out similarly too; the team got off to a brisk start posting 48-1 in the powerplay, but the wheels came off the innings in the middle overs when they lost wickets in clusters. RR could only add 77 runs in the 14 overs after the fielding restrictions were relaxed – not a single six was hit in the entire RR innings.
Dhawan’s was the standout batting performance in this low-scoring match. The SRH opener made the most of the reprieve he was handed early on – Ajinkya Rahane put down a sitter at slip when the batsman was yet to score a run. The left-hander was edgy to begin with – playing out five consecutive dot deliveries and edging one over the slip fielder, but once he had runs against his name, he grew in confidence and started playing his strokes freely. In the third over, he drove Dhawal Kulkarni through the covers and in the same over collected a six through an upper cut. Boundaries came thick and fast thereafter, and Dhawan reached his half-century at the start of the tenth over; the left-hander needed only 33 deliveries to reach the milestone.
He carried on, and in the sixteenth over scored the winning runs in style, punishing a Kulkarni short delivery and sending it on its way to the midwicket fence. Dhawan remained unbeaten on 78, made from 57 balls and decorated with 13 fours and a six. (IPL website)