DUBAI: Sunrisers Hyderabad's batting eggs are all in their top-order basket. In their two previous games, the top three - Aaron Finch, Shikhar Dhawan and David Warner - had failed to fire, and so they lost. On Friday, all three batsmen came good and the upshot was a narrow victory that earned Sunrisers their first points of the season. Finch and Dhawan had an opening stand of 56 in 6.2 overs, racking up Sunrisers' best powerplay score in the process. There were no more wickets for Delhi Daredevils after Dhawan fell. Warner joined Finch for a 128-run stand in 13.4 overs, both batsmen making power-packed half-centuries to post 184 - Sunrisers best ever score in the IPL.
Daredevils had themselves to blame for conceding so many because they dropped three catches. On 26, Dhawan cut Wayne Parnell straight to Manoj Tiwary at point and was reprieved. Parnell's anguish was evident because his previous three deliveries - all of them short - had been cut and heaved for four, six and four. Warner was dropped second ball - before he had scored - by the wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik off spinner Shahbaz Nadeem; he was on 31 when Tiwary put down a skier at point, off Parnell. Had those chances been taken, the likelihood of Sunrisers achieving their best ever IPL total was remote. Finch's innings had no such blemish. He did not shred the attack right from the start; in fact his first 35 balls brought him only 41 runs. The highlight of that period was a one-handed six over extra cover off JP Duminy. Finch was off balance when he made contact but had the conviction to go through with the shot.
Finch's innings had no such blemish. He did not shred the attack right from the start; in fact his first 35 balls brought him only 41 runs. The highlight of that period was a one-handed six over extra cover off JP Duminy. Finch was off balance when he made contact but had the conviction to go through with the shot. He cut loose in the 16th over, with three consecutive boundaries off medium-pacer Laxmi Ratan Shukla, and passed 50 off his 37th delivery. He better that effort in the 18th over, punishing Jaydev Unadkat for four successive boundaries, and set Sunrisers on course for a formidable total. And just when Unadkat threatened to complete an efficient final over, Finch hit the final ball into the stands beyond midwicket, to finish with 88 off 53 balls.
While Finch batted fluently right through, Warner converted a slow start into a punchy half-century. Soon after he was dropped second ball, he clouted Duminy over the straight boundary, but slowed down again. From 8 off 5 balls, Warner plodded to 18 off 27, until Parnell bowled him a leg-side full toss that he smashed for four. And then the boundaries flowed and Warner's touch was so good that he could switch-hit another full toss, from Mohammad Shami, for six over third man.
Sunrisers Hyderabad 184-1 (Finch 88*, Warner 58*) beat Delhi Daredevils 180 (Vijay 52, de Kock 48) by four runs.
Hats off to skipper Misbahul Haq and pacer Wahab Riaz for their commendable performance that helped ...