HYDERABAD: Despite it being the first encounter of the home franchise, there was not much excitement in the air, with only about 18,000-odd spectators at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium on Monday.
However, SunRisers Hyderabad did not appear bogged down by the lack of support, as they chased down a paltry Rajasthan Royals total with nine wickets and 25 balls to spare. Continuing with the trend this season, SRH opted to field.
The stranglehold they maintained in the first innings could be gauged from the fact that their mainstay Bhuvneshwar Kumar at 4-0-30-1 had the least-impressive bowling figures of all. To add to that, no one from RR could hit a six.
The visitors, making a comeback after two years, were pushed to the deep end in the very first over when skipper Kane Williamson ran out Australia’s D’Arcy Short. What followed was a display of cautious approach from skipper Ajinkya Rahane (13) and Sanju Samson (49). But pacer Siddarth Kaul had other plans. The Punjab lad scalped Rahane in his first over to break the partnership.
The most prized kill for the home team came in the shape of Ben Stokes (5), who was lured into a lofted shot by Aussie speedster Billy Stanlake. Last season’s hero for the Rising Pune Supergiant, Rahul Tripathi (17) looked to break the shackles.
His plans were led astray by new signing Shakib Al Hasan, who struck twice in an over to remove Tripathi and Samson and make it 94/5. Then on, it was just patchworked for RR. Kaul used short balls to perfection and cramped the batsmen for room to return with figures of 2/17.
Royals’ defence suffered a blow when Rahane dropped Shikhar Dhawan off Dhawal Kulkarni in the slips in the first over.
The way Dhawan played after that, the SRH camp would have forgotten that David Warner is not a part of the squad! The Man of the Match hit 78 off 57 and was ably supported by skipper Williamson (36). Brief scores: RR 125/9 in 20 overs (Samson 49, Gopal 18; Kaul 2/17, Shakib 2/23) lost to SRH 127/1 in 15.5 overs (Dhawan 78 no, Williamson 36; Unadkat 1/18).