David Warner’s brilliant, running catch at long-off to send Chris Gayle back to the dugout was probably what tilted the Indian Premier League opener in holders Sunrisers Hyderabad’s (SRH) favour on Wednesday. (HIGHLIGHTS)
Ben Cutting’s screeching throw from deep square leg to run out Kedar Jadhav sealed it. (SCORECARD)
The defending champions, riding on a sizzling 62 off 27 balls from Yuvraj Singh and a measured half-century from Moises Henriques beat a threatening Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by 41 runs at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium at Uppal.
SRH had posted 207/4 and RCB folded for 166.
RCB, despite missing Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and KL Rahul, seemed to be punching above their weight, keeping up to the required run rate till the 11th over. But Cutting provided the edge with a direct throw that caught Jadhav short.
Jadhav, Head partnership
Jadhav and Head brought in a 50-run partnership off just 27 balls after Gayle and Mandeep had provided a rollicking start. Two of these top four fell to Afghanistan debutant Rashid Khan, and with them went the hopes.
Before the interval, Yuvraj, Henriques and Dhawan had showcased brute power and timing as SRH notched up nine sixes and 17 fours in their big total.
Yuvraj hit three sixes and seven fours and his crisp shots kept the capacity crowd entertained.
While Yuvraj put SRH into top gear, Henriques steadied the innings, putting on half-century partnerships with opener Dhawan as well as Yuvraj.
After skipper David Warner was out early to a soft dismissal, it was left to Henriques and Dhawan to resurrect the innings and provide a platform with a 74-run partnership.
Dhawan, who is trying to earn a spot in the India side for Champions Trophy, came into this match with a string of good scores in Deodhar Trophy and made 40 before holing out to long on. He had done his job, starting coolly and then opening up by taking 17 runs off one Shane Watson over.
The left-hander’s dismissal brought no respite in the RCB camp as it came under Yuvraj’s hammer.
With Henriques firmly settled at one end, Yuvraj began with a trademark whip off his hip against pacer Sreenath Aravind. There was enough power in that shot to carry it to the boundary.
That was just the start as Yuvi, after getting an inside-edge that went for four, carved a six over extra-cover against left-armer Aniket Choudhary. He then pulled one to midwicket fence for four.
Later in the same over, he was dropped at midwicket by Aravind. It was a costly miss as he continued milking runs. Yuvraj was so quick that the third-wicket 58-run partnership between him and Henriques took just under five overs and he scored 40 of those runs. Henriques just watched, showing urgency only towards the end of that stand. Yuvraj completed his half-century off just 23 deliveries with two sixes and six fours.