Sunrisers Hyderabad players David Warner and Aaron Finch punch gloves during Pepsi Indian Premier League Season 7 between the Sunrisers Hyderabad and the Delhi Daredevils at the Dubai International Stadium (PTI Photo)
In their previous match, against Kings XI Punjab, Sunrisers Hyderabad elected to bowl first and then were blown away by the whirlwind called Glenn Maxwell. Two defeats out of two and a lesson well learnt, Shikhar Dhawan promptly decided to bat first against Delhi Daredevils after winning the toss again on Friday.
But there is one other area where Hyderabad have been steadfast, and that is the opening combination. While Dhawan enjoys the privilege that comes as skipper, David Warner has been slotted in at No. 3 this season although he is acknowledged as one of the most destructive opening batsmen in the world.
And Warner too has not looked anywhere near his fluent best, perhaps unsettled a bit.
And that is a tribute to the team’s belief in Aaron Finch, who has partnered Dhawan at the top. The 27-year-old’s T20 record is enviable, averaging over 38 despite maintaining a brilliant strike rate of 138. And the best of his two centuries is a phenomenal 156.
And Finch again showed why he is so special, producing a brilliant knock which started with his healthy partnership with Dhawan before the Australian partnership with Warner enforced the innings.
The unbeaten 128-run second wicket partnership thoroughly exposed the misfiring Daredevils. Last year’s bottom-placed team, Delhi have looked directionless so far, and the third defeat in four matches is again threatening to condemn them to the rear.
The bowlers, particularly paceman Mohammed Shami, proved a big let down as Daredevils managed only one wicket, failed to arrest the scoring momentum. On top of it, Manoj Tiwary dropped two catches to help Sunrisers on their way.
And although the chase was difficult, Daredevils squandered the chance despite opener Murali Vijay finally coming good. Kevin Pietersen was finally back, having missed the first three matches due to a finger injury.
In the end, the crumbs of comfort were over actually getting to play his first match since being sacked as England player.
Pietersen had to push the scoring, and although he tried to produce his power-hitting, it was apparent he was rusty after having played little competitive cricket since the disastrous Ashes series. The result? Dale Steyn had him caught at long-off by Darren Sammy as KP couldn’t put enough power despite getting well behind the shot.
JP Duminy, the man in great form and the saving grace for Delhi, and Tiwary took 18 runs off leg-spinner Amit Mishra’s 18th. But still 31 runs were needed off the last two and Steyn gave away 11 runs, leaving Bhuvneshwar kumar to defend 19 off six balls, which he did.