KOCHI: Having replaced David Warner in the starting line-up, the onus was on Jason Roy to step into the Australian's shoes effortlessly and provide Sunrisers Hyderabad some much-needed impetus. Roy, playing his first game in this IPL, didn't disappoint as he smashed 60 off 42 balls to set up Hyderabad’s chase of 165.
Skipper Kane Williamson, meanwhile, was calm as ever and hit an unbeaten 51 to ensure that they notched up a seven-wicket win against Rajasthan Royals on Monday. The win will do little for Hyderabad's prospects given that they are already out of the playoff race but they have managed to dent Rajasthan’s chances as well of entering the playoffs.
Hyderabad’s effort meant that Sanju Samson’s lone hand for Rajasthan was once again overshadowed. Samson struck 82 off just 57 balls to help Rajasthan reach 164/5.
Against Delhi Capitals in the previous game, even though the Royals lost the match, Samson's unbeaten 70 (off 53 balls) stood out. And his innings at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Monday was yet another reminder of what this swashbuckling cricketer is capable of.
For the second straight game, Samson had taken it upon himself to carry his side and hung around till the end of their innings. Bhuvneshwar Kumar had given Sunrisers an early breakthrough by dismissing Evin Lewis cheaply, but once Samson walked in, Hyderabad bowlers had no answers to his all-round striking.
After forging a 56-run partnership with Yashasvi Jaiswal, he shifted gears and dispatched the Hyderabad bowlers to all parts.
Sunrisers failed to chase down a relatively easy target of 125 against Punjab Kings in the last match. Despite Warner being in poor form, he still remains a fan-favorite among the Hyderabad faithful and Roy needed to justify his selection.
The English batsman gave them a great start and combined effectively with skipper Williamson to put them in a strong position. Once Roy was back in the dugout and Priyam Garg was dismissed for a golden duck by Mustafizur Rahman, Williamson took it upon himself to shepherd the side.
Brief scores: Rajasthan Royals 164/5 in 20 overs (Samson 82, Jaiswal 36) lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad 167/3 in 18.3 overs (Roy 60, Williamson 51 not out)