In the last IPL, Jonny Bairstow and David Warner represented the unstoppable force and the immovable object. They frequently turned water into wine and made bowlers look silly. Set a target? Get Bairstow and Warner on the job. Need to chase down a target? Let the duo do their thing.
It’s fair to say things haven’t worked like that in the opening games of 2020. In the opener against Bangalore, the Australian went for 6. Against Kolkata, Bairstow was out for 5. On Tuesday, they somewhat rediscovered their mojo to help Hyderabad post their first win. After their opening stand of 77 — Bairstow hit 53 and Warner scored 45 — helped lay the foundation to set a target of 163, the usual suspects in the bowling department came through for Warner & Co.
On a pitch that was hard for stroke-play, Rashid Khan teased and tricked his way through the Indian core. The 22-year-old, whose box of tricks will make a magician blush, was extremely tight with his line and length, used the nature of the pitch to his advantage and accounted for all three of Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer and Shikhar Dhawan. He finished with 3/14 f and by the time he was done, Delhi had gone to the point of no return.
The seasoned Bhuvneshwar Kumar also got his first wickets to put the gloss on a team performance.
This win will please Warner who has had to tinker with his team selection after two batting no shows. To address that, they recalled Kane Williamson and it was his classy 41 at the death that made the difference in the end. Hyderabad’s next match is against another of the franchise’s that have struggled so far, Chennai, on Friday. Brief scores: SRH 162/4 in 20 ovs (Bairstow 53, Warner 45, Williamson 41) bt DC 147/7 in 20 ovs (Rashid 3/14).
Battle of batsmen
Kolkata meet marauding Rajasthan on Wednesday. This will be their first match at the venue. Here are a few talking points...
In two games, Royals have gone past 200-mark with ease. They chased down the highest tournament total against Kings XI Punjab in their previous match. Sanju Samson looks in prolific form. Steve Smith too has hit two fifties in as many matches.
Spotlight on Russell
If KKR wish to outscore RR, they need Andre Russell to come out with all guns blazing. However, to utilise him to his fullest potential, the team management needs to promote him up the batting order.
Pitch & conditions
The venue produced both the Super Overs of the tournament. In remaining three matches, teams winning the toss opted to field only to lose the match. No team has chased down target in five matches here.