Sunrisers Hyderabad opened their account in the Indian Premier League 2021 with a massive nine-wicket win over Punjab Kings at M. A. Chidambaram Stadium on Wednesday.
The meagre 121-run target with poor bowling would have never saved KL Rahul-led Punjab.
The Kings got dominated in a one-sided contest to let Warner draw first blood in this year’s campaign.
The key to Punjab’s success has been their top order on most occasions.
But a shaky start that saw both Rahul and Mayank Agarwal returning to the dressing room in a trice, faltered their hopes of getting a fighting total.
They might not have crossed even the 100-run mark had Shahrukh Khan not slogged in the final overs.
One after another, all Punjab batters returned to the hut, saving the Hyderabad bowlers the last two deliveries of the final over.
While Hyderabad have lost two of three games from a comfortable position, the opening duo did not replicate the mistakes of their last outings.
The Warner-Bairstow duo kept the scoreboard ticking with easy singles and doubles to ensure that their middle-order doesn’t have much to do.
While Warner fell cheaply at 37, the Englishman remained unbeaten on 67 to claim the Player Of The Match award for his gritty knock.
Bairstow has now become the third-highest scorer in this season with 173 runs in four innings.
When will we see the Gayle Storm?
For a player of Chris Gayle’s caliber, it is odd to see him struggle in the recent seasons.
He has failed to strike big as he used to in the past and that has been hurting the Kings at the top-order.
Rahul and Agarwal are not the most ferocious strikers of the ball. Hence, Gayle’s job is to accelerate the innings at number 3.
However, the Caribbean star failed to deliver the goods.
His 17-ball 15 spoke volumes of his form slump.
Rashid Khan continues to rule
In all games Rashid Khan has played this year, a common pattern has emerged.
He might not grab the most scalps in every game, but the pressure he generates helps other Hyderabad bowlers get wickets.
Yet again, Rashid kept the Punjab batsmen on the backfoot with a superb spin bowling display.
While he completed his quota for 1/17, Khaleel Ahmed (3/21) and Abhishek Sharma (2/24) picked up the wickets.
The leggie conceded only a single four, which explains why he is the most economical bowler (5.06) so far with five wickets in his pocket already.
Disciplined Sharma pulls out his tricks
Abhishek Sharma seemed very mature for his age.
The 20-year-old bowled with discipline and almost had Agarwal on a duck.
Conceding only three runs in his first over, Sharma kept the line and length as tight as he could.
He earned his first scalp with a backspin that dismissed Deepak Hooda. The Punjab batsman misjudged the ball while trying to flick it away and it got onto his pads.
Sharma’s second wicket was of Moises Henriques who got stumped after beating him with extra flight.
Sunrisers Hyderabad 121 for 1 (Bairstow 63*, Warner 37, Allen 1-22) beat Punjab Kings 120 (Shahrukh 22, Agarwal 22, Ahmed 3-21, Sharma 2-24) by nine wickets.