It was the first game of the season for Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad. Both the sides had suffered the loss of their regular captains – Steve Smith for RR and David Warner for SRH due to the suspensions imposed on the duo due to ball-tampering.
The onus was on the new captains – Ajinkya Rahane and Kane Williamson to resurrect their respective sides. The night in Hyderabad proved to be hugely fruitful for Williamson rather that Rahane as SRH stamped their authority on the visitors and thumped them by 8 wickets. After losing the toss and batting first, RR could score just 125/9 from their 20 overs. The target proved to be like a walk in the park for the hosts who got on the board with the first win.
Let’s take a look at the 5 things that went wrong for RR
#1 D’Arcy Short’s run-out
RR had spent big bucks on the Australian opening batsman who was the standout performer in the Big Bash League. It was his first outing in the IPL and there were massive expectations from the left-hander. He began well by flicking his second ball to the square leg fence for four but his stay in the middle didn’t last long.
Short pushed the last ball of the first over towards mid-off and immediately took off for a single. The SRH skipper Williamson was quick to gather the ball and pulled off a direct-hit that found the batsman miles short at the non-striker’s end. The early breakthrough opened the floodgates and SRH didn’t look back from there.
#2 Shots going straight to the fielders
It wasn’t a tough wicket to bat on but the RR batsmen made it difficult for themselves. A few batsmen got in and got out at wrong moments. One might say they were unlucky because the well-timed shots landed straight into the hands of the fielders that led to their downfalls.
Rahane flicked one to Rashid Khan at deep square-leg, Sanju Samson was caught by Rashid, Ben Stokes chipped one straight to Williamson at long-on and Rahul Tripathi found Manish Pandey perfectly at deep mid-wicket. All of these were well-timed strokes but unfortunately for RR, the fielders were in the right place at the right time.
#3 No partnerships in the middle-order
RR had lost Short early in the innings but Rahane and Samson had steadied the ship for a while. The duo took the score to 48/1 at the end of the powerplay and was looking good in the middle. Samson was timing the ball well while Rahane, after getting over the initial jitters, was shaping up well.
They added 46 runs for the 2nd wicket but once Rahane got out, there were hardly any partnerships from the batsmen that followed. They kept losing wickets at regular intervals and the next best stand was 29 runs between Rahul Tripathi and Samson. The lack of application hurt RR and as a result, they fell well short of a competitive total.
#4 Rahane dropping Dhawan in the slip
After setting up a target of 126, RR needed some early wickets to apply the pressure. In the absence of David Warner, the responsibility lied on the shoulder of Shikhar Dhawan to give his side a good start. RR would have hoped to dismiss the dangerous Dhawan with the new ball.
The opportunity knocked on the door in the very first over when the left-hander edged one off Dhawal Kulkarni towards Rahane at first slip. Rahane, perhaps the safest catcher in the slip, committed a huge blunder and put down a sitter. The dropped catch hurt the side badly as Dhawan went on to score an unbeaten 77 and took his side past the line.
#5 Lack of quality spinners
The teams that possess quality spinners amongst the ranks are the ones that dominate more often than not. SRH showcased that in this very game as they had 2 wonderful spinners. Rashid Khan and Shakib Al Hasan took 2 and 1 wicket respectively and both went below 6 runs an over. They took wickets at crucial stages of the game and applied the brakes on the scoring.
RR struggled in that front as they don’t have a big name in the spin department. Krishnappa Gowtham and Shreyas Gopal were the designated spinners in the side but none of them threatened to take wickets and the SRH batsmen played them quite comfortably. Both went wicketless and not just in this game but in the remainder of the league, this might remain a concern for the Royals.
Sunrisers Hyderabad won the toss and opted to bowl first
Rajasthan Royals: 125/9 in 20 overs
Sanju Samson 49, Shreyas Gopal 18
Siddharth Kaul 17/2, Shakib Al Hasan 23/2
Sunrisers Hyderabad: 127/1 in 15.5 overs
Shikhar Dhawan 77*, Kane Williamson 36*
Jaydev Unadkat 28/1
Sunrisers Hyderabad won by 9 wickets
Player of the Match: Shikhar Dhawan
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