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Royals down Sunrisers for qualifier spot

That the Royals were chasing a low total helped their cause. And credit had to go to skipper Rahul Dravid, but Rajasthan’s chances of advancing to qualifier hinge on Aussie veteran. Khurram Habib reports.

india Updated: May 23, 2013 10:45 IST
Khurram Habib
Khurram Habib
Hindustan Times
brad hodge,rahul dravid,sunrisers

The Sunrisers Hyderabad are an aberration in T20 cricket and a refreshing one at that.

Most teams build their line-ups around power-hitters, but Hyderabad have no power-hitter, someone who can keep the crowd busy. They play the game with some subtlety of the longer version and have surprised almost everyone by reaching this far on the back of their enviable bowling line-up.

During this T20 league season, they have restricted their opponents to 130 or below on 10 occasions. That says a lot about a team's bowling strength, especially one playing on Indian featherbeds.

So when they were limited to 131, the palpable feeling was that they could make a match of it.

On a Kotla track, which looked difficult to play on, as against the belter a day back in the MI-CSK match, the Sunrisers' bowlers had the hand on the wheel once Shane Watson was dismissed as the second wicket with the team score on 50.

Darren Sammy plucked one out of thin air to send Watto back and did his 'baby' jig, sucking his thumb instead of the pacifier this time. That set the tone and Sammy again got rid of two of the next three wickets to put the skids on Royals' chase.

Amit Mishra was miserly while leggie Karan Sharma and Ishant Sharma took early wickets.

But then Brad Hodge stepped in slogged and pulled Karan for 18 runs in an over. The balance was again titled in the Royals' favour.

That the Royals were chasing a low total helped their cause. And credit had to go to skipper Rahul Dravid.

Among the latest trends emerging in T20 cricket has been the key role played by spinners. Their utility in T20 cricket has been approved by the likes of Shane Warne and Mushtaq Ahmad, two world-class spinners.

Dravid too used Ajit Chandila to great effect, even opening the bowling with him.

He had been on the money till spot-fixing revelations consumed him.

Now, without Chandila, Dravid fell back to the old T20 theory of using pacemen, even if it meant throwing a bulky Vikramjeet Malik first up.

The risk paid dividends as Malik, playing just his second game this season, took the first two wickets to peg the Sunrisers back.

They could never recover and with Dravid keeping an all-seam attack, they could not get a hang of it.

First Published: May 22, 2013 21:14 IST