In a nutshell
The Sunrisers Hyderabad’s first innings 207/4, courtesy of a 27-ball 62 from Yuvraj Singh was too much for the depleted Royal Challengers Bangalore batting lineup and they secured a 35 run win after bowling out the visitors for 172 runs.
How it unfolded
The Royal Challengers Bangalore put the hosts in to bat on a flat Hyderabad deck, in front of a packed Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, and the Sunrisers responded by scoring 59 in the powerplay, for the loss of only their captain, David Warner, who fell to Aniket Choudhary for 14 off 8 balls. Shikhar Dhawan and Moises Henriques scored rapidly into the middle overs, and put on 74 off 8.5 overs. Yuvraj Singh came in at No. 4 to score a match winning 62 off 27 balls after Dhawan was dismissed by Stuart Binny for 40 off 31, and the 3rd wicket partnership took the hosts to 151 off 15.3 overs, before Henriques holed out to Sachin Baby at long-off. Cameo’s from Ben Cutting and Deepak Hooda took the score to a massive 207/4 at the end of 20 overs.
The Royal Challengers started strongly, with a 52 run partnership between Chris Gayle and Mandeep Singh. The visitors then lost their openers in the space of 5 balls, to Rashid Khan and Deepak Hooda respectively. Travis Head and Kedhar Jadhav rebuilt strongly, before a stellar direct hit from the outfield by Ben Cutting found Kedhar short of his ground. Head soon fell to Rashid Khan, leaving the Royal Challengers’ lower middle order an uphill task. Watson did not have the required support at the other end and wickets precipitated quickly as the visitors were bundled out for 172 in the 20th over, giving the reigning champions a win in their first game of the tournament.
Where the game was won
Yuvraj Singh’s consistency and form were key to Hyderabad’s chances this season and through his albeit far-from-chanceless 27-ball 62 he demonstrated the clean-hitting he was famous for in times gone by. He used the foundation set by his team’s top order to propel the Sunrisers to a match winning 207 that Bangalore had little chance of chasing down given their scarce batting stocks.
The Royal Challengers’ fielding came into the spotlight after several dropped catches and misfields. While it is difficult to say that it was the difference between the two sides, as the Sunrisers Hyderabad themselves had a poor outing in the field, the drops off Yuvraj could have potentially been what cost them the match
Ben Cutting’s throw from the outfield to dismiss a well-set Kedhar Jadhav, and to end the only partnership that could have won Hyderabad the game was the shift in momentum that put the game out of reach for Bangalore. T
What this means for the tournament
IPL 10 is still very very young and given the high number of matches per team, there is still plenty of opportunity for the Royal Challengers to step up. They were possibly expecting a hampered performance, without their captain and AB de Villiers. The Sunrisers continue their winning ways and start their season with a win against a strong opposition. That they got a win against the much-feared Royal Challengers out of the way will hold them in good stead as they aim for a place in the play-offs.
The Sunrisers Hyderabad showed strength in what was dubbed the weakest part of their line-up: their middle order. This is a positive sign, is Deepak Hooda, Yuvraj Singh and Moises Henriques can continue their fine form. Another positive sign is the ability of their bowling line-up to stand up on a flat Hyderabad deck to bowl out a Bangalore line-up without bowling kingpin Mustafizur Rahman. What will concern them is their poor fielding and the continued lack of form of their captain and opening batsman David Warner, whose last 7 scores in the country read: 14, 56, 6, 19, 14, 33, 17. Another key takeaway is the performance of Rashid Khan, who took important wickets when Hyderabad needed them the most. His form, as pitches get lower and slower will be interesting to follow this IPL. The Sunrisers must also work hard on their fielding, Ben Cutting notwithstanding, as the fielding today, particularly the shelled catch by wicketkeeper Naman Ojha, was not up to standard. However, on the whole, a clinical victory without a key player was a good sign for the games to come.
The Royal Challengers, on the other hand, have much to think about. While many have dubbed the game a loss due to the poor batting stocks, it was the bowling that, as it has several times in the past, lost the game for the Royal Challengers. This time, it was against a weaker batting lineup than most, and will worry Bangalore as it was only Tymal Mills and Yuzvendra Chahal, both of whom have had spectacular 2016-2017 seasons, who looked competitive. It could be argued that Bangalore have the weakest Indian seam bowling contingent, and despite the strides both Aravind and Aniket Choudhary made in the domestic set-up, they were woefully found out in this game. The batting, while it looked good in parts, was unable to push on and chase down the big score on a good batting surface without 3 important batsmen. The lower middle order, consisting of Stuart Binny, Sachin Baby and Sreenath Aravind is perhaps the poorest in the tournament, and could not meaningfully contribute. However, Star of the 2017 England ODIs, Kedhar Jadhav, showed good form with the bat, but the Royal Challengers will find little good to take from this all-round performance. Their fielding, too, looked appalling, and a step up from the tournament favourites will be needed to stay in the reckoning for their first IPL title.
Vedant Jain is a contributor for CricMetric. For any queries, comments or information, email email@example.com