Rajasthan Royals were at their belligerent best yet again in IPL 2015. They beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by 6 wickets at Vishakapatnam to bag their 4th win of the season. Ajinkya Rahane top scored with 62(56) and helped the Royals chase down a small yet tricky target of 128.
Sunrisers put to bat, start slowly
Buoyed by RR’s magnificent run chase against Mumbai in the last match, Steven Smith had no hesitation in opting to take the field after winning the toss. The slow start by the Sunrisers openers only gave him a shot in the arm. Shikhar Dhawan and David Warner were tied down by the disciplined bowling of Tim Southee and Chris Morris in the first 3 overs. Dhawal Kulkarni reaped the benefits of the pressure built up by Southee and Morris. He dismissed Dhawan in the 4th over, and came back in the 6th to trap Lokesh Rahul leg before wicket. Meanwhile, Warner had been done in by a direct hit from Rahane at backward point, in the 5th over. 3 wickets in 3 overs, and the Sunrisers were left chasing their tail thereafter.
Middle order steadies the ship, but late acceleration goes missing
The Sunrisers middle order had to painstakingly make something out of the mess made by the top order. Eoin Morgan and Naman Ojha took the lead with a 52 run stand, but it came at almost a run-a-ball pace. Clearly, the mid innings boost to the run rate was nowhere to be seen when Ojha and Morgan were dismissed within a space of 14 balls by veteran leg spinner Pravin Tambe. Ravi Bopara and Ashish Reddy tried to take the innings to a respectable total, but were only moderately successful. A few lusty blows from Bopara and Reddy took SRH to 127/5 in 20 overs.
Rahane and Samson share strong opening stand
Ajinkya Rahane and Sanju Samson responded to the call of duty with great aplomb. They shared a 64 run opening partnership in 62 balls, in conditions that were tailor made for them. By the time Samson was dismissed, Rajasthan Royals were almost halfway through the chase. Skipper Steven Smith chipped in with a useful 10 ball 13 to take his team closer to victory.
James Faulkner and Stuart Binny take Rajasthan Royals home
The apparently easy chase for the Royals turned into a tricky affair in the last few overs. The situation became a tad too tense after Rahane’s dismissal in the 19th over, with RR still needing 10 to win from 9 balls. James Faulkner and Stuart Binny were in no hurry to score the winning runs, but they were wary of the problems that one more wicket could create at that juncture. The duo thus played with extreme caution in those last 10 balls. They were unaffected by the fact that they had to take the match right down till the last ball. With only 5 to defend, Praveen Kumar bowled a brilliant last over, but could not prevent Faulkner from driving the last ball to the cover boundary!
Man of the Match – Ajinkya Rahane
Brief Scores – Rajasthan Royals (131/4 in 20 overs, Rahane 62(56), Bopara 2/18) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad (127/5 in 20 overs, Morgan 27, Kulkarni 2/9) by 6 wickets