After starting the season with successive defeats, Sunrisers Hyderabad have turned it around with back-to-back victories. Two days after swamping Chennai Super Kings, Sunrisers’ attack turned up once again, this time to consign Gujarat Titans to their first loss. It was T Natarajan, who led the way for Sunrisers, first striking in the powerplay and then regularly pinging the blockhole in the death, to limit Titans to 162 for 7, despite Hardik Pandya’s unbeaten half-century.
Titans would’ve ended with fewer runs if not for 20 wides, ten of which came in the first over bowled by Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Titans’ total, however, looked bigger when Kane Williamson struggled to get out of first gear in the chase, and when Rahul Tripathi retired hurt on 17 off 11 balls due to cramps. Williamson ultimately hit a higher gear, against his New Zealand team-mate Lockie Ferguson, and notched up a 42-ball fifty. Williamson holed out for 57 off 46 balls, with Sunrisers needing 34 off 23 balls, but Nicholas Pooran closed out the game with a flurry of boundaries along with Aiden Markram.
After leaking 17 runs in an uncharacteristic opening over, Bhuvneshwar tightened up in his second, having Shubman Gill caught at short cover, where Tripathi pulled off a blinding one-handed catch. B Sai Sudharshan, who impressed with 35 on debut, against Punjab Kings, made another solid start, but Natarajan cut his innings short at 11 in the sixth over, when he found sharp extra bounce.
Matthew Wade laboured to a run-ball 19 before Umran Malik rushed him for pace and pinned him lbw. In four innings so far, Wade has managed 56 runs at an overall strike-rate of less than 100.
Pandya dashed out of the blocks, with a second-ball four, off Natarajan. Malik then pinged Pandya on the grille of his helmet with a searing lifter, but Pandya immediately shook it off with back-to-back fours, the first being an eye-catching high-elbowed drive through extra-cover. And when Pandya launched Markram over midwicket, he brought up his 100th six in the IPL. After zipping away to 22 off 14 balls, Pandya slowed down, managing only 28 off his last 28 balls. The variations of Natarajan and the accuracy of Washington Sundar, who bowled only three overs, in particular, shut down Pandya.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: 168 for 2 (Williamson 57, Abhishek 42, Pooran 34*, Pandya 1-27) beat
Gujarat Titans: 162 for 7 (Pandya 50*, Manohar 35, Natarajan 2-34, Bhuvneshwar 2-37) by eight wickets.