Shikhar Dhawan played a pivotal innings to anchor Sunrisers Hyderabad to a five-wicket win over Gujarat Lions at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Friday.
After restricting a strong batting side GL for 126/6, thanks to an impressive display of seam bowling, a tenacious Dhawan hung on to guide the Sunrisers to their fifth win in eight games.
His unbeaten 47 off 40 balls was a typical opener's knock, with Hyderabad chase revolving around his innings.
The build-up to the match was dominated by the return of Yuvraj Singh, making his Indian Premier League (IPL) debut for the Hyderabad franchise. But he first game of IPL 2016 was a forgettable one.
The start to the match however witnessed a swarm of insects occupying the playing field, and at one point, players and umpires seemed to struggle to cope with the invaders.
SUNRISERS HYDERABAD INNINGS; TARGET 127
Over 19 || Score 129/5 (S Dhawan 47; N Ojha 9)
Praveen Kumar returned for his last six balls, in the penultimate over of the match. A double to Naman Ojha, as the batsman played towards long on.
Operating from round the table, Praveen responded with a dot ball. But the next ball, a fuller, straighter one, and a straight four.
A slower bouncer ruled wide for height. Then a quick single.
An attempted yorker on Shikhar Dhawan's legs, went wrong and the batsman flicked for a four.
Then another four through cover. Back to back boundaries and Sunrisers Hyderabad won the match by five wickets.
Over 18 || Score 113/5 (S Dhawan 39; N Ojha 2)
Dwayne Bravo returned for his third over. Two runs to start the over to Deepak Hooda, then a loose delivery, but a wicket in return for the West Indian.
Just like Moises Henriques' wicket, a wide delivery on the leg produced results. Once again, a good catch behind the wickets by Dinesh Karthik.
WICKET: Deepak Hooda c Dinesh Karthik b Dwayne Bravo 18 (12b)
Naman Ojha, the new man, took a single off the very first he faced. Then a run out chance as Shikhar Dhawan returned for a second, and a desperate lunge to save the wicket.
A single then, a slower full toss for another single.
EQUATION: 14 runs required from 12 balls.
Over 17 || Score 106/4 (S Dhawan 36; D Hooda 16)
One busy over from Shivil Kaushik.
It started with a leg-bye, then a single to Deepak Hooda. Another leg-bye followed, before Hooda hit a a four on the off. Dwayne Bravo could have done better, but the ball raced between his legs at long-off.
A single, then a dot ball. Kaushik's figures: 4-0-25-0.
EQUATION: 21 runs required from 18 balls.
Over 16 || Score 98/4 (S Dhawan 36; D Hooda 10)
For the first time, Shikhar Dhawan seemed to have opened up, playing strokes.
A dot ball to Dhawan to start the over, then a single, followed by another single.
Dhawan played a cut shot, over backward point, for a four.
A single, then a dot ball to end the over. With that, Dhawal Kulkarni ended his spell for figures of 4-1-17-2.
Over 15 || Score 91/4 (S Dhawan 30; D Hooda 9)
After that wicket-maiden from Dhawal Kulkarni, Gujarat Lions conceded 10 runs as Ravindra Jadeja's an otherwise good over went for runs with a last ball four.
Two doubles of first two balls, then a dot. Two singles followed, then Deepak Hooda played a cut shot, using the pace of the ball to beat the chasing short third man for four runs.
Sunrisers Hyderabad still need 36 runs from 30 balls.
Over 14 || Score 81/4 (S Dhawan 29; D Hooda 0)
Dhawal Kulkarni returned for his third over and lots of swing and miss from Yuvraj Singh.
Four dot balls, then the famous cricketer threw away his wicket. He came down and played a lofted cover drive, and found Pradeep Sangwan waiting for the catch.
WICKET: Yuvraj Singh c Pradeep Sangwan b Dhawal Kulkarni 5 (14b)
Deepak Hooda is the new man.
Over 13 || Score 81/3 (S Dhawan 29; Y Singh 5)
Pradeep Sangwan, who leaked 16 runs from his first over, started his second spell with a short delivery. And Shikhar Dhawan guided over backward point for a four. Errant bowler, one would say.
It was followed by a juicy half-volley on the pads, and Dhawan dispatched it to fine leg boundary. Back-to-back fours.
A dot ball, then a single.
Yuvraj Singh, called it luck or perfect placement, lofted the ball between two fielders at cover and extra cover. A double to end the 12-run over.
Over 12 || Score 69/3 (S Dhawan 18; Y Singh 4)
Dwayne Bravo continued for his second over. A single to Yuvraj Singh, then two dot balls before Shikhar Dhawan took a single.
A single followed, by another as Dhawan failed to punish the low full toss. He settled with a single.
Over 11 || Score 65/3 (S Dhawan 16; Y Singh 2)
Shivil Kaushik on for his third over. A dot ball to Shikhar Dhawan to start the over.
Then a four as Dhawan played a late cut to perfection to dispatch the short ball from young spinner. A single, then a dot to Yuvraj Singh. A single, then a double to end the eight-run over.
Sunrisers Hyderabad need another 62 runs from 54 balls.
Over 10 || Score 57/3 (S Dhawan 4; Y Singh 1)
Just after the Time-Out Dwayne Bravo got rid of a dangerous looking Moises Henriques with his second ball of the match. Down the leg side, and Henriques played a pull shot but failed to make a good contact. Good catch on his left by a diving Dinesh Karthik.
WICKET: Moises Henriques c Dinesh Karthik b Dwayne Bravo 14 (16b)
That brought 'debutant' Yuvraj Singh into the centre. He took three balls to open his account. A single more, and three runs from the over, and also a wicket.
Over 9 || Score 54/2 (S Dhawan 7; Henriques 14)
Unlike his first over, this time wristy-wriggly spinner Shivil Kaushik leaked 11 runs from his second over, which also included a four.
A double to Moises Henriques to start the over, then a dot ball. It was followed by a four, full and outside of off, and Henriques drove through cover.
A wide, then a double. A single then a shout for LBW, as Shikhar Dhawan missed the line and ball hit his pad. High.
Over 8 || Score 43/2 (S Dhawan 7; Henriques 5)
Another tidy, very tidy over for Gujarat Lions. Two singles and a double for four runs.
Sunrisers Hyderabad need another 84 runs from 12 overs. It's still in control for the batting side, but a fight is at hand.
Over 7 || Score 39/2 (S Dhawan 4; Henriques 4)
And what a start from Shivil Kaushik, the magical spinner. Only one run, that off first ball of the over to Shikhar Dhawan. Moises Henriques ate up the remaining five deliveries.
In the last five overs, Hyderabad have scored 16 runs losing 2 wickets. Return of favours from Gujarat Lions bowlers.
Over 6 || Score 38/2 (S Dhawan 3; Henriques 4)
Another brilliant over from Dhawal Kulkarni. Five runs from the over.
Two dot balls to Shikhar Dhawan, then a single, before Moises Henriques took three balls for a lucky four, just over the fly slip.
Sunrisers Hyderabad need another 89 runs from 14 overs.
Over 5 || Score 33/2 (S Dhawan 2; Henriques 0)
Praveen Kumar on for his third on the trot. Good one from the experienced bowler.
A dot ball to Kane Williamson start the over, then a two singles. A dot ball, then a brilliant catch at cover by Dwayne Smith. Just a little push from the batsman and the fielder completed the job.
WICKET: Kane Williamson c Dwayne Smith b Praveen Kumar 6 (9b)
Moises Henriques is the new man.
Over 4 || Score 32/1 (S Dhawan 1; K Williamson 5)
Bowling change, and Dhawal Kulkarni on. Big wicket of David Warner. One shot too many from the Australian, caught at mid-on by Praveen Kumar.
WICKET: David Warner c Praveen Kumar b Dhawal Kulkarni 24 (17b)
New man Kane Williamson blocked three balls, then played a lithe cover drive for runs. A single to end the over.
Over 3 || Score 26/0 (D Warner 24; S Dhawan 1)
Praveen Kumar continued with his second over, and two singles off first two balls.
Then a dot to David Warner, which was followed by a murderous straight drive. Lucky to have it stayed it a dot ball, and also to not injured himself injured while stopping the ball with foot.
Brilliant over, as a dot and a single followed. Three runs.
Over 2 || Score 23/0 (D Warner 22; S Dhawan 0)
Eventful over as Pradeep Sangwan ran into David Warner. A double to start the over, then a wide.
It was followed by a six, as Warner hit back the ball over the bowler. A dot ball followed, and he stared down Warner. Intimidation games.
Another dot ball, but the next one — a shorter one — and Warner pulled it handsomely, for a six. A single to end the over. 16 runs from the over.
Sunrisers Hyderabad need another 104 runs from 18 overs.
Over 1 || Score 7/0 (D Warner 7; S Dhawan 0)
The chase started well for Sunrisers Hyderabad as David Warner jumped into his attacking mode from the third ball itself.
Two dot balls from Praveen Kumar, then the third ball on the leg, gone for a double as Warner flicked. It was followed by a four, punched through cover.
A single, then a dot ball. Seven runs from the over.
GUJARAT LIONS INNINGS
Over 20 || Score 126/6 (A Finch 51; P Kumar 6)
Good running between the wickets. A double off the first ball, then Aaron Finch missed out a chance to make some runs off a slower full toss. Only a single.
Praveen Kumar swung hard, and got a fine inside edge which beat the wicket-keeper. Four big runs.
A bouncer, and Kumar played towards extra cover for a single.
On 47 off 40 balls, Finch picked the low full toss and lofted over mid-wicket. Two runs, even as a call for review was asked.
Another run-out call off the last ball as Finch returned for a second. Looked tight, but he survived.
Bhuvi's figures: 4-1-28-2.
Over 19 || Score 114/6 (A Finch 44; P Kumar 1)
Just about perfect penultimate over from Mustafizur Rahman. A wicket, that of Ravindra Jadeja to start. Caught at mid-off.
WICKET: Ravindra Jadeja c Bhuvneshwar Kumar b Mustafizur Rahman 18 (13b)
New man Praveen Kumar took two balls to take a single, the Aaron Finch hit his first six of the match. A short ball on middle, and he carted over mid-wicket.
A single to end the over. Mustafizur finishes with 4-0-17-2.
Over 18 || Score 106/4 (A Finch 37; R Jadeja 18)
Ashish Nehra on for his fourth and final over. A single to Ravindra Jadeja to start the over, then two dot balls to Aaron Finch as the shaping away deliveries beat the bat.
A single off the fourth ball, then a welcome four as Jadeja played an exquisite shot to beat the fielder at backward point for a four.
A single to end the over.
Nehra's figures: 4-1-23-0.
Over 17 || Score 99/4 (A Finch 36; R Jadeja 12)
Mustafizur Rahman returned for his third over. It started with a dot ball to Aaron Finch, then a fine edge through the vacant slip cordon for two runs.
It was followed by a loose one, by Mustafizur's standard, but Finch failed to punish the widish delivery, and ended up with two runs.
Another bad delivery, and a single as the ball was fielded at fine leg.
A single to end the over.
Over 16 || Score 93/4 (A Finch 31; R Jadeja 11)
Moises Henriques on for his third over, a busy one. A dot ball to Ravindra Jadeja, then three singles.
The fifth ball, a straighter one, picked by Aaron Finch. David Warner could have completed the catch easily at long-off, but his out of position body meant the ball jumped off his palms.
The very next ball, Jadeja played a glorious cover drive for four.
Over 15 || Score 85/4 (A Finch 29; R Jadeja 5)
Barinder Sran returned for his third over, and what a way to start a new spell. First ball, and wicket of dangerous Dwayne Bravo. Good catch at deep by substitute fielder V Shankar.
WICKET: Dwayne Bravo c sub (V Shankar) b Barinder Sran 18 (20b)
Ravindra Jadeja is the new man. Six runs and a wicket from the over.
Over 14 || Score 79/4 (A Finch 28; D Bravo 18)
Brilliant over from Mustafizur Rahman. The left arm seamer tied down Dwayne Bravo. A single off the fourth ball, and two dots to Aaron Finch. Off the last ball, Finch wanted to steal a single after gently playing to the gully fielder, but Bravo ignored his call. Could have been a goner for the Aussie had the throw hit the stumps.
One run from the over.
Over 13 || Score 78/4 (A Finch 28; D Bravo 17)
Ashish Nehra returned for his third over. A single to Aaron Finch, then Dwayne Bravo picked the fuller delivery and flicked for a four.
A single, then a double. Then, Nehra was stopped at runway as Bravo looked for comfort after an insect got inside his helmet. A single, then another dot ball to end the over.
Over 12 || Score 70/4 (A Finch 27; D Bravo 10)
Barinder Sran returned for his second over, and he was welcomed back with a four by Aaron Finch, who played a well-time pull shot.
Five more singles off the remaining five deliveries, and nine runs from the over.
Over 11 || Score 61/4 (A Finch 20; D Bravo 4)
Yuvraj Singh continued for his second over, even as Aaron Finch and Dwayne Bravo looked to rebuild Gujarat Lions' innings.
A single to Finch to start the over, then a double to Bravo. Four more singles, and seven runs from the over.
Meanwhile, Finch and Bravo have added 27 runs from 20 balls.
Over 10 || Score 54/4 (A Finch 17; D Bravo 4)
After the break, Moises Henriques continued with his second over. A single to Aaron Finch, then followed by two more wides, real wides.
Then, a low full toss wide off the off, but Dwayne Bravo failed to capitalise on it. He managed only a single.
It was followed by a short delivery, which was punished by Finch, through backward point.
A single to end nine-run over.
Talking about records, 14 balls taken by Lions to score their first run was most by a team in IPL history. The previous record was 10 balls by CSK against KXIP, in 2011.
Over 9 || Score 45/4 (A Finch 11; D Bravo 3)
First over for Yuvraj Singh, and the star cricketer started with a six-run over.
Four singles and a double.
Just an interesting fact, which probably has the direct links to Gujarat Lions change of fortunes — Average power-play score for Gujarat in their last three games are 36, 35, 26, against 72, 71, 72 from three games prior to that.
Over 8 || Score 39/4 (A Finch 9; D Bravo 0)
David Warner introduced Moises Henriques into the attack and the 29-year-old Australian got the wicket of an otherwise reticent Brendon McCullum. A slower delivery, and mistimed lofted shot ended with a brilliant catch at long-on by Warner.
WICKET: Brendon McCullum c David Warner b Moises Henriques 7 (19b)
That happened off the fourth ball of the over, and the very next ball, Aaron Finch found a thick inside edged which missed the wicket, and flew for a four.
A single to end the seven-run and wicket over. Dwayne Bravo is the new man.
Over 7 || Score 32/3 (B McCullum 6; A Finch 3)
Barinder Sran on for Hyderabad. Three singles off the first three balls, then a wide down the leg even as Brendon McCullum play a mighty swing.
It was followed by by two dot, including the reload, then a wide.
A single, then McCullum played a hook shot off a short delivery, but good fielding at deep mid-wicket by Shikhar Dhawan.
Six runs from the over.
Over 6 || Score 26/3 (B McCullum 4; A Finch 1)
Imperious Mustafizur Rahman on, and soon produced a wicket-taking delivery by Shikhar Dhawan fumbled at point, giving Brendon McCullum a chance, which also meant a single.
But two dot balls later, the Bangladeshi sensation got a wicket, thanks to a sensational catch at gully by Kane Williamson. The umpires got a lengthy review before the verdict.
WICKET: Dinesh Karthik c Kane Williamson b Mustafizur Rahman 0 (3b)
Aaron Finch is the new man.
Over 5 || Score 24/2 (B McCullum 3; D Karthik 0)
With ball moving both ways, David Warner continued with Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The Indian seamer managed to keep quite Brendon McCullum, who took a single off the first ball.
A double followed, then Suresh Raina played a valiant lofted drive for his second six over long-on, which was followed by a lucky four behind fine leg.
A dot ball, then Raina gone. Bhuvi landed the ball on the middle and moved away a bit, but Raina ended up offering a return catch.
WICKET: Suresh Raina c & b Bhuvneshwar Kumar 20 (10b)
Dinesh Karthik is the new man.
Over 4 || Score 11/1 (B McCullum 2; S Raina 8)
Ashish Nehra continued for his second over. The seasoned bowler started with two dots, off the first two balls, to Suresh Raina.
Raina took a single off the third ball, then a single, before Brendon McCullum once again came down the pitch trying to murder it. But only a single.
Raina flicked the last ball for a six. A flat one.
Over 3 || Score 3/1 (B McCullum 1; S Raina 1)
First run of the match from the 14th ball of the match. A slower one on the middle, and Dwayne Smith played on the off for a single. Generous, and the batsmen celebrated it.
It was followed by another seemingly loose one, only because of the length. And Brendon McCullum gently pushed towards deep, a single.
Then the big wicket of Dwayne Smith. The West Indian offered the simplest of simplest catch at third man.
WICKET: Dwayne Smith c Mustafizur Rahman b Bhuvneshwar Kumar 1 (9)
Skipper Suresh Raina on with a single. Three runs and a wicket.
Over 2 || Score 0/0 (D Smith 0; B McCullum 0)
Ashish Nehra shared the new ball, and the first up, a good ball, which almost got the wicket of Brendon McCullum. Then the bowler from Delhi grimaced as insects got into play too, biting the bowler.
Three balls, and no run. Then the fourth one, just off the off, and McCullum slapped hard. But the fielder at cover at it easy, fielding it.
As expected, the Kiwi came down, and he missed the line of the delivery. Clean collection behind the wickets by Naman Ojha.
Then a slower one from Nehra, on the off, for a dot.
Two maiden overs to start the match.
Over 1 || Score 0/0 (D Smith 0; B McCullum 0)
Bhuvneshwar Kumar started the proceedings, and with insects flying around and strewn around, to Dwayne Smith. Bat to ball for the first time off the fifth ball. The previous deliveries, all shaping away, and the West Indian batsman just about managing to hang on there.
And a dot ball for a maiden over.
Before the start of the match, rare sight of pest infested field in Hyderabad.
Have a look at these fours:
David Warner, Kane Williamson, Moises Henriques and Mustafizur Rahman for Hyderabad; Dwayne Smith, Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch and Dwayne Bravo for Gujarat.
This is the man making his Hyd debut
— SunRisers Hyderabad (@SunRisers) May 6, 2016
And Lions warming up
— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) May 6, 2016
Here are the teams:
Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner (capt.), Shikhar Dhawan, Kane Williamson, Moises Henriques, Yuvraj Singh, Naman Ojha(wk), Deepak Hooda, Barinder Sran, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashish Nehra, Mustafizur Rahman
Gujarat Lions: Dwayne Smith, Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch, Suresh Raina (capt.), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Pradeep Sangwan, Praveen Kumar, Dhawal Kulkarni, Shivil Kaushik
There was threat of rain at Hyderabad, but it's reported to be dry now. Expect a high scoring match.
TOSS: David Warner wins toss, and Sunrisers Hyderabad bowl first against Gujarat Lions. The big news, however, is Yuvraj Singh plays his first IPL match of the season.
Gujarat Lions: Suresh Raina (capt.), Sarabjit Ladda, Akshadeep Nath, Amit Mishra, Dwayne Bravo, Paras Dogra, Eklavya Dwivedi, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Ishan Kishan, Ravindra Jadeja, Shadab Jakati, Dinesh Karthik, Shivil Kaushik, Dhawal Kulkarni, Praveen Kumar, Brendon McCullum, Pradeep Sangwan, Jaydev Shah, Umang Sharma, Dwayne Smith, Dale Styne, Pravin Tambe, Andrew Tye.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner (capt.), Ashish Reddy, Ricky Bhui, Bipul Sharma, Trent Boult, Ben Cutting, Shikhar Dhawan, Moises Henriques, Deepak Hooda, Siddarth Kaul, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Abhimanyu Midtun, Eoin Morgan, Mustafizur Rahman, Ashish Mehra, Naman Ojha, Vijay Shanker, Karn Sharma, Barinder Sran, T Suman, Aditya Tare, Kane Williamson, Yuvraj Singh.
Umpires: Marais Erasmus and Sundaram Ravi
Third Umpire: KN Ananthapadmanabhan
Match Referee: Javagal Srinath
Reserve Umpire: Abhijit Deshmukh
The focus ahead of the two top teams, like it or not, is on Yuvraj Singh. The experienced India all-rounder is yet to play a single game in this Indian Premier League (IPL) season, but he still carries a winning aura. And the 34-year-old has justified the tall claims bestowed on him.
That's how Yuvraj Singh has managed to preserve his name and remain relevant despite the arrival of many a young all-rounders with more or less similar abilities — with both bat and ball.
If he takes field today, and do what he does best — win the match for Sunrisers Hyderabad, then the seasoned campaigner would be able to justify the huge paychek the franchise cut against his name, unlike the previous season wherein he flopped with Delhi Daredevils.
Talking about the teams, hosts Hyderabad have won four of the seven matches played so far. But the better win percentage was more about their mercurial skipper David Warner, and of course young fast bowlers in Mustafizur Rahman and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
So, they will need other players from the stable to come good today to beat a strong Gujarat Lions. The Suresh Raina-led outfit started the season with a bang, and until the last two matches, they were the gold-standard of Twenty20 cricket.
Those successive defeats have already stirred enough rumbling, a loud one, in the Gujarat ranks that teams facing them Lions are wary of the danger players like Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Smith, Dwayne Bravo carries.
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Welcome to our live coverage of the Match 34 of 2016 Indian Premier League between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Gujarat Lions, being played at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Uppal, Hyderabad.