For as long as one can remember, David Warner has been one the most destructive T20 batsmen. He boasts a strike-rate of 143 and is expected to do well every time he sets foot on the field. At least that has been the kind of reliance on Warner for Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL for the last few years. Monday was another such occasion when the Aussie led from the front and took his team to a respectable 159 for six against the Kings XI Punjab at the RGI Stadium. After being put into bat, Hyderabad initially struggled against Punjab bowlers, managing only 29 runs in the first powerplay. That was the period when Warner scored only four off 13 balls. Sandeep Sharma and Mohit Sharma bowled economically. But despite the slow scoring rate, the Hyderabad skipper hung around and waited for the right opportunities.
A Warner innings is usually replete with boundaries. This time around, a bulk of his runs came in the form of ones and twos. Out of 70, 34 came in boundaries. With Hyderabad losing their top three cheaply before the halfway mark with the score at 50, it was imperative for the southpaw to stay till the end. That’s what he did. It was a struggle for other batsmen, though. Right from Shikhar Dhawan to Moises Henriques to Yuvraj Singh, none looked comfortable, especially against Axar Patel. The chase was always going to be a tough affair for Punjab in Hyderabad’s backyard. As expected, Sunrisers started well. Bhuvneshwar Kumar got rid of Hashim Amla off the first ball of the innings. Others supported him well and put Hyderabad on course. After 13 overs, Punjab were languishing at 82 for six. But what happened thereafter will be remembered for a long time. Manan Vohra produced an innings to remember. The right-hander smashed 95 in just 50 balls to give Hyderabad a big scare. Out of nowhere, the 24-year-old took control and brought his team to the brink of an outrageous win. In fact, there were two occasions when Manan received a lifeline — surviving a leg-before shout on 32 and then being dropped by Dhawan on 83. But Bhuvneshwar got the prized wicket in the 19th over to take his team over the finish line. The speedster picked up a fifer and the Man of the Match award as Hyderabad won by a close margin of five runs.
Brief scores: Sunrisers Hyderabad 159/6 in 20 ovs (Warner 70 no; Mohit 2-25, Axar 2-33) bt Kings XI Punjab 154 in 20 ovs (Vohra 95; Bhuvneshwar 5-19, Rashid 2-42).