HYDERABAD: Usually in the IPL, it is always a tough battle for the highest run-getter and maximum wicket-taker’s prizes, where close to five-six players vie till the very end of the tournament. The Orange and Purple Caps, as they say, don’t come easy. But this season has been different in that respect.
While Sunrisers Hyderabad’s Bhuvneshwar Kumar is in the running for the Purple for the most successful bowler, it is a battle between David Warner and Gautam Gambhir to end as the highest scorer. Going by what happened on Sunday, it is fair to say that the Aussie wants the Orange, unlike last year when he finished second.
When Sunrisers Hyderabad faced Kolkata Knight Riders, Warner came out and started bludgeoning the bowlers from the moment he stepped out to the middle. Such was his domination that he reached hundred during the 11th over of the innings, facing just 43 deliveries. This was his third ton in the tournament, and first for Sunrisers. The left-hander smashed 126 with a strike rate of 217. Other than 10 fours, there were eight sixes.
Warner and Shikhar Dhawan stitched a partnership of 139, of which the latter made just 29. Dhawan just had to give strike to his partner, and that’s what he did. After the departure of Warner, Kane Williamson stepped forward and caused further damage.
KKR spinners, who are usually economical, leaked runs from the word go. A bad day in the office for the bowlers meant KKR was set a target of 210 runs. More than bowling, it was the fielding that hurt them dear. First a chance to stump Dhawan was missed by Robin Uthappa, then a catch of Warner was put down by Chris Woakes. Towards the end, Sheldon Jackson dropped Yuvraj Singh.
After the bowling setback, there was disappointment for KKR in batting too. The opening combination of Gautam Gambhir and Narine failed collectively, perhaps for the first time in the tournament. After that, Manish Pandey (39) and Robin Uthappa (53) tried to fight back, but the target proved to be out of their reach.
Hyderabad 209/3 in 20 ovs (Warner 126, Williamson 40) beat Kolkata 161/7 in 20 ovs (Uthappa 53, Pandey 39) .