Hyderabad: David Warner (67 off 38b, 3×4, 5×6) and Jonny Bairstow (80 no off 43b, 7×4, 4×6) were simply unstoppable yet again. The Aussie-English pair continued their purple patch in the IPL as the Sunrisers Hyderabad humiliated Kolkata Knight Riders with a nine-wicket win at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Uppal on Sunday.
The dashing duo reached their fourth century partnership this season and helped their side register their fifth win from nine matches. The Orange Army meanwhile climbed to fourth spot in the points table while the KKR side, which lost their fifth match in a row, remained at sixth position.
Chasing 160 runs on a sluggish wicket where the ball came slowly off the pitch and was not conductive for stroke making, the Warner-Bairstow duo were on a roll against KKR bowlers. It was Warner who first reached his 50 off 28 deliveries. The Orange Cap holder also became the first to score 500 runs in this year’s IPL.
Bairstow was solid at the other end. He made full use of a dropped chance by KC Cariappa at deep point. The Karnataka spinner, who replaced Kuldeep Yadav, let the ball slip off Prithvi Raj’s delivery in the debutant left-arm seamer’s first over. The batsman was batting on one. The KKR fielders gave two more reprieves to Bairstow before Warner fell to Andhra pace bowler. The pair shared 131 off just 12.2 overs.
Bairstow grew in confidence played some late and pull shots before finishing the match in style with consecutive sixes off leg spinner Piyush Chawla as SRH reached the target in 15 overs.
Earlier, the Sunrisers bowlers made an impressive comeback to restrict the KKR side to 159/8 in 20 overs. The KKR innings lost momentum after a blistering start by the openers – Chris Lynn and Sunil Narine – as the SRH bowlers picked wickets at regular intervals. Left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed (3/33) was the most successful bowler for the Orange Army while the rest of the bowlers complemented well to restrict the flow of runs.
This was after the KKR openers Narine and Lynn added 42 runs off just 16 deliveries for the first wicket. The dangerous Narine (25 off 8b, 3×4, 2×6) was cleaned up with a slow ball by Khaleel Ahmed in his first over. The young Shubman Gill (3), who was promoted to number three in the absence of Robin Uthappa, was Khaleel’s next victim. The fall of quick wickets meant a dip in the KKR run rate.
Meanwhile, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who leaked runs in the first over, came back strongly to dismiss the in-form left-hander Nitish Rana (11) in the eighth over. KKR suffered another jolt when they lost their skipper Dinesh Karthik, who ran himself out while attempting an unnecessary second run off Vijay Shankar’s throw. KKR were in serious trouble at 73/4 in the ninth over.
However, 21-year-old Rinku Singh and Lynn batted steadily in the middle overs. Rinku was lucky initially as he was grassed by Shahbaz Nadeem off Sandeep Sharma near the boundary line when he was on four. The pair added 51 runs for the fifth wicket before Rinku departed to Sandeep for a useful 30.
The wicket saw the arrival of danger man Andre Russell, much to the excitement of the 30,000 plus Sunday crowd. They chanted ‘Russell, Russell,’ expecting another big knock from the Jamaican. Meanwhile, Chris Lynn reached his 50 in the 16th over. The joy was however short-lived as Lynn (51 off 47b, 4×4,1×6) was dismissed by Khaleel Ahmed to a brilliant diving catch by SRH skipper Williamson.
It was left to Russell to help his side get to a decent total. He did hit Bhuvneshwar for a couple of sixes in the 19th over. However, Russell lost his wicket while attempting a third one against Bhuvi in the same over. The number ten batsman KC Cariappa smashed Rashid Khan, who yet again was economical, for a six in the last over as KKR reached 159/8 in 20 overs.