Dale Steyn showed why he is the world’s premier fast bowler, as the South African cleaned up the last three wickets in five deliveries in the 19th over to set up Sunrisers’ 22-run victory over Pune Warriors at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Friday.
As Steyn said after the match, for once, the home team had a winning start. “The guys showed a lot of character with bat and ball. It wasn’t a free-flowing wicket and all we had to do was bowl well. We bowled bloody well,’’ said Steyn.
Defending a small target of 126 runs, Sunrisers bowled out Warriors for 104 in 18.5 overs. Coming in the 19th over, Steyn, with Warriors 103 for 7, had Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s leg stump cart-wheeling off the second ball. The next delivery he uprooted Rahul Sharma’s leg stump. Two balls later, he wrapped up Sunrisers’ victory by exiting Ashok Dinda, who was caught at slips. It was a fairy-tale victory for Sunrisers, the new franchise, in their debut match.
But it was Thisara Perera (2 for 29) and man of the match Amit Mishra (3 for 19) who set up Sunrisers’ win at the start of the Warriors’ innings. Perera snuffed out two wickets in five deliveries, dismissing opener Robin Uthappa (22-ball 24) and Marlon Samuels (2).
Bowling a teasing length, an aggressive Mishra (3 for 19) created a panic in Warrior’s camp. The leg spinner captured the prized scalp of Yuvraj Singh stumped before he removed opener Manish Pandey who laboured for a 29-ball 15. Mishra came back for a second spell and pushed Warriors further back
when he had left-hander Abhishek Nayar caught at extra cover.
Warriors’ were further dented when Ashish Reddy’s slower ball pinned Ross Taylor (19 off 19 balls). Mitchell Marsh was unfortunately run-out—as a powerful drive from Angelo Mathew’s shot deflected off Perera’s hands at the non-strikers end. At 94 for 7, they still might have nursed hopes, but Steyn came up and polished off the tail.
Earlier, there were more yawns than boundaries in Sunrisers’ innings, as their batsmen struck only 12 boundaries and a six. Even the usually fluent Kumar Sangakkara struggled (15 off 14 balls). So did Cameron White (18-balls for 10) as their batsmen collectively stuttered. Finally, it took Thisarar Perera to enliven the proceedings with an 18-ball 30 with three boundaries and the only six of their innings. He was particularly severe on part-timer Marlon Samuels, whose 17th over leaked as many runs.