HYDERABAD: The law of averages had to catch up sooner or later with the Sunrisers Hyderabad opening pair. David Warner and Jonny Bairstow have had three century partnerships in the previous four games but on Saturday night they were both dismissed with just 33 on the board.
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It was for the first time that the hosts lost their openers below 50 runs and that set the cat among the pigeons. It was time for the other batsmen to make it count but sadly it was not to be so as the hosts crashed to a 40-run loss to Mumbai Indians at the RGIC Stadium, here.
The middle-order has been the Achilles Heel of the Sunrisers over the years but the brilliance of David Warner, Shikhar Dhawan and Kane Williamson and the fantastic effort of the bowlers had covered up that short coming. This season too SRH rode on the Warner-Bairstow combination and the middle-order didn’t have much to do till now. The likes of Vijay Shankar, Manish Pandey, Deepak Hooda and Yusuf Pathan had the opportunity but they messed it up as MI, who had stopped the winning run of defending champions Chennai Super Kings in their previous game, tamed the Sunrisers to show that their campaign is well on track.
Led by debutant Alzarri Joseph, who bagged six for 12, MI put up a spirited bowling display to defend a modest score. The 22-year-old Antiguan bowled Warner in his first over and followed it up with the wickets of Shankar, Hooda, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Siddharth Kaul. Joseph’s effort is the best by a bowler in the IPL. The earlier record of six for 14 was by Pakistan’s Sohail Tanvir. Apart from Joseph, Pat Cummins is the only other bowler to deliver a wicket-maiden in his very first IPL over.
Earlier, Kieron Pollard’s heroics with the willow in the death overs gave MI 136 for seven on the board. The big hitting batsman struck an unbeaten 46 off 26 balls with two fours and four sixes. Pollard, who was dropped by Rashid Khan on 8, took Siddharth Kaul to the cleaners in the 19th over. He struck three sixes as he plundered 20 off that over. Pollard then got 19 off Bhuvneshwar as MI scored 61 off the last five overs.
With regular skipper Kane Williamson ‘close to 100 percent fit’, SRH had no problem in letting loose off-spinner Mohammad Nabi against the visitors. The Afghanistan spinner yet again came up with a magical spell which put the MI batsmen under immense pressure. Nabi, who finished with the most important wicket of Rohit while conceding a mere 13 runs, has bagged seven wickets in three games while giving away 45 runs off his 12 overs.
MI’s struggles began in the first over itself as Rohit was all at sea against Bhuvneshwar. After four dot balls, the MI skipper was rapped on the pad and SRH went for the review which they lost. This forced Rohit to try to hit his way out of the stalemate and charged at Bhuvneshwar but managed to only scoop the ball towards third man where Kaul failed to get underneath the skier and put it down.
The struggling Rohit, however, failed to capitalise on the stroke of luck as he took on Nabi only to hole out Hooda in the deep. The skipper’s dismissal opened up the sluice gates as the batsmen struggled to get going against the disciplined SRH attack.
However, SRH fielding let them down badly as the catching was not up to the mark. The hosts conceded around 25-30 more than they would have liked to.