Mumbai, May 7: Riding on some quality batting display by Eoin Morgan and Shikhar Dhawan, Sunrisers Hyderabad scraped past Rajasthan Royals by seven runs in a close Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter at the Brabourne Stadium here on Thursday. Put in to bat, Eoin Morgan (63; 28b 4×4, 5×6) and Shikher Dhawan (54; 35b 6×4, 2×6) led the batting show for the Sunrisers, who posted an intimidating 201/4.
In reply, Royals took up the challenge with Steve Smith hitting a 40 ball 68, but the side simultaneoulsy lost wickets at regular intervals.A However, late blitz by Chris Moris (34; 11b, 2×4, 3×6) and James Faulkner (30; 19b, 2×4, 2×6) raised hopes. The Royals needed 18 of the final over to force a win, but in the end they finished at 194/7.
After the win, Sunrisers have moved to the fifth spot with 10 points from the same number of matches. The Royals remained in the second place at 14 points from a dozen outings. For Sunrisers, Bhuvneshwar Kumar (3/34) was the pick of the bowlers. Chasing a 200-plus target, the Royals got off to a worst possible start losing opener and season’s highest run-getter Ajinkya Rahane (8) in the very first over.
After striking two boundaries in third and fifth ball, Rahane pushed forward at a good length ball that pitched around off and wicket keeper Naman Ojha took the thick edge diving across first slip with his right arm outstretched. Rahane’s opening partner, skipper Shane Watson (12) also did not last long.
But Steve Smith kept on scoring freely both against pacers and spinners.A At the other end, Karun Nair (4) and Deepak Hooda (7) returned to the pavilion in the space of three overs. Royals was then struggling at 77/4 in 10.6 overs. Earlier, the Sunrisers got off to a cracking start with openers David Warner and Dhawan scoring at over 10 runs an over but all-rounder Watson worked wonders for the home side in the fifth over.
After captain Warner (24; 18b, 5×4) struck two boundaries of the first two balls, he tried to make it three in a row but failed as an edge carried comfortably to wicketkeeper Sanju Samson. Incoming batsman Moises Henriques struck 20 off 21 balls, striking three boundaries but soon perished in the 10th over, off 43-year-old spinner Pravim Tambe.
But the wickets didn’t worry Dhawan as he and Morgan kept on scoring freely, hitting the ball to all parts of the ground. Dhawan unleashed some fearsome shots off his willow, to draw cheers form the fans. But while trying to accelerate in the 15th over, Dhawan missed and bowler James Faulkner rattled his stumps. Morgan, who reached 50 in 23 balls, wanted to hit a six but instead saw the ball land in the hands of Steve Smith at long-off off Watson.