IPL 2021: Sun rises late as Hyderabad last defeats Rajasthan Royals
In the end, it was an easy victory for the Sunrisers Hyderabad who took them to four points in 10 games. But it was a victory after all, something they were desperate for. Jason Roy’s 60 of 42 balls set up the seven wicket win with nine balls remaining. Kane Williamson put the finishing touches, scoring an elegant 51 on 41 balls. As the gloom was partially lifted in the SSR camp, the Rajasthan Royals sank into uncertainty.
Roy makes his debut
He was putting on big shoes. The abandonment of David Warner despite his recent series of low scores foreshadowed an upheaval. The Australian opener started the season as SRH captain. A captain’s snub mid-tournament later, he was even out of the XI.
Roy was under pressure at the start. But his experience and his quality in England helped him. Anything in the strike zone, he attacked. Three ovens in a Chris Morris Plus helped him raise the bar. Its ability to maximize width was first class. His crush of leg spinner Rahul Tewatia – a six and three fours on top – was even more exciting. All the while, Royals bowlers have been playing limit balls in abundance.
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When the opener came out, SRH needed 51 of 48 balls. Priyam Garg got back on his heels and given the team’s propensity to implode backwards, that might have been a wake-up call. But Williamson played some great innings and was helped by a young Abhishek Sharma.
For the first hour of this game, SRH looked poor, at times bordering on abject. Their bowlers played on both sides of the wicket to start. The way Jason Holder backpedaled and dropped Jaiswal, a hold that should have been taken, reeked of the offhand. It was like SRH was going through the moves until they ramped up their game towards the second half of the Royals’ innings. The beautiful bowling alley of Bhuvneshwar Kumar contributed to the improvement.
Samson gets an orange cap
During his 57-ball 82, the Royals captain played some great shots, the best being a six over Rashid Khan. He walked down the track, made room, but the ball spun a bit. Samson, however, made adjustments, opened his shoulders and threw him over the fence. Samson is nice to watch when he’s in full swing. Reading googles was a weak spot in his stick, but thanks to his nimble footwork Samson didn’t allow Khan to settle into a groove today.
A tally of 433 points over 10 games allowed Samson to climb to the top of the points standings to win Shikhar Dhawan’s orange cap. Personally, that would be satisfying for the “goalie-batter in his first season as captain of the Royals.” But his team turned out to be a disappointment. Lack of proper planning took the Royals’ momentum off the bat and they ended up missing by at least 20 points. A victory in this match would have put them in the top four. They had to deal with an apparently discouraged SSR. But the Royals also remain hikers.
The Royals sparkle
After 10 overs, the Royals were 77/2. Liam Livingstone was new to the fold, carrying his reputation for electric performance in The Hundred. Asian conditions, however, are a bit different. A little caution to begin with wouldn’t have hurt Livingstone. But he went for a sweater against top-spinner Khan and was caught.
Livingstone is such a fantastic hitter with a wide range that a few overs of him could have taken his team well beyond 180. In the second phase of the UAE IPL, top teams like the Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals thrived. on a clear strike plane. After Powerplay, they attack from one side, while a batsman on the other end tries to go deep.
The Royals had Samson to beat in the innings. A certain calculated aggressiveness was needed around him. They tried to attack from both sides and despite a 20-point run over Siddarth Kaul, they allowed SRH to gain the upper hand.
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After Livingstone’s sacking, Samson had to play a mixed role of anchor and aggressor. This kept the progress of the Royals in check. And when the last time they lost two wickets inside three balls, they ended up posting a very attainable total.
During the bowling alley, too, no one could guess why Mustafizur Rahman and Chetan Sakariya had not received the new ball. Roy was playing his first game and should have faced the top two crimps in the opposition ranks from the start. Jaydev Unadkat looked undercooked and Morris’s pace worked to the advantage of the SRH openers.
Fielding was also poor. A bullet went through Samson’s legs. Jaiswal dropped Roy off Tewatia for additional cover. This game demanded precision on the part of the Royals. Instead, they fell prey to their mediocrity.