The Sunrisers Hyderabad posted their first points in Pepsi IPL 2014, thanks to their four-run win over the Delhi Daredevils. After scoring 184 for one, SRH prevailed by a slim margin in a match that came down to the last over.
Earlier, SRH won the toss and elected to bat first in Dubai. Both their openers – Shikhar Dhawan and Aaron Finch – vindicated the decision by giving their team a brisk, yet solid, start. Ensuring they dealt with any loose offerings from the DD bowlers, both openers brought up the team 50 in the 6th over itself. In fact, SRH scored 55 without loss at the end of the six-over powerplay and were looking set for a big score. However, Dhawan (33), who had done the bulk of the scoring till that point, perished soon after; he fell prey to Shahbaz Nadeem in the seventh over.
But Finch, along with David Warner, continued to put pressure on the DD bowlers by maintaining the SRH run-rate around the seven-an-over mark, and more importantly, preserving wickets for a late onslaught. The SHR 100 came up in the 15th over as the stage was set for some late-innings fireworks. Finch also reached his half-century during this period and began an all-out assault against the Daredevils. While Warner played more than a handful of big shots, it was Finch who stole the show by dispatching the DD bowlers to all corners of the park almost every other ball. Warner also reached his half-century soon after – in the 19th over.
Thanks to the 128-run unbroken second-wicket partnership, off 88 balls, SRH posted a massive 184 for one in their 20 overs. In fact, the Hyderabad franchise put up 85 runs in the last six overs alone, thanks to the exploits of Finch (88*) and Warner (58*).
In response, even the DD openers – Quinton de Kock and Murali Vijay – started steadily. They even brought up the team 50 in the seventh over of the innings, with de Kock taking centre stage and Vijay playing the supporting role. However, as the innings took shape, even Vijay came into his own, matching his partner run-for-run, and at times, shot-for-shot. Thanks to both the batters, DD were scoring around nine-an-over and were firmly in the hunt.
But de Kock (48) finally perished with the score on 99 in the 12th over; Karn Sharma got the better of the SRH opener as he was trying to go for a big hit. Vijay (52) fell shortly thereafter, upon reaching his half-century, off the bowling of Darren Sammy. Dinesh Karthik then joined skipper Kevin Pietersen in the middle with the run-chase equation reading 82 off 46 balls. And despite having two of their best batsmen at the crease, Daredevils’ scoring-rate took a hit. With a little more than four overs left in the innings – and 61 runs still required – they needed to go after the SRH bowlers, who had done a great job of restricting their opponents during the middle overs.
And while Pietersen struck a welcome six and a four in quick succession, Karthik (15) succumbed to Dale Steyn in the 17th over. Pietersen (16) suffered the same fate off the very next ball. The ace pacer, however, missed out on a hat-trick. Then, with the required rate climbing further, DD had two fresh batsmen – Manoj Tiwary (23*) and the in-form JP Duminy (20*) – taking strike. The duo plundered 18 runs off Amit Mishra’s final over – the 18th of the innings – to bring the equation down to 31 off 12 deliveries. But the next over cost SRH 11 runs, which meant that DD needed 20 off the last six balls of their innings.
However, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who bowled the 20th over, ensured there was no fairy-tale ending for DD this time around. Despite a couple of hits to and above the fence, the Daredevils fell short of the target, giving SRH a four-run win. Man of the Match: Aaron Finch for his match-winning innings of 88*