HYDERABAD (TIP): This was a clash between the IPL’s most powerful line-up and its most effective attack. Here was a line-up that had had just one failure in nine games. Here was an attack that was still to concede more than 130 at home. The Sunrisers Hyderabad bowlers kept their home run going, stopping Mumbai Indians just short of 130 on a slow pitch which the visiting batsmen could never get going on, despite losing only four wickets.
Shikhar Dhawan guided the chase single-handedly, peppering both square boundaries as he motored to his second fifty in three innings. Apart from the pitch and the home attack, what went against Mumbai Indians was that they lost their four wickets in groups of two each, sucking out whatever momentum they had managed to build on both occasions. The first time it happened, a start of 32 in 4.2 overs was squandered. The second time, two batsmen, Dwayne Smith and Rohit Sharma, who had spent enough time in the middle to have assessed the wicket, fell in the same over.
It was Ishant Sharma who began Sunrisers’ dominance. Sachin Tendulkar had whipped and lofted Dale Steyn for successive fours but Ishant’s short of a good length stuff was to prove difficult to time. Tendulkar backed away and missed one that nipped in from that length. Two balls later, the in-form Dinesh Karthik reached for one that wasn’t quite there for the drive, and sliced it to backward point. As he usually does, Dwayne Smith took his time in the Powerplay but unlike normally, he found the runs weren’t coming even during the middle overs.
Ishant was bowling a superb line and length, and the two legspinners, Amit Mishra and Karan Sharma, were getting grip and turn. Smith was dropped by Ishant at long-off in Mishra’s second over but got a poor decision in the bowler’s next, given out lbw after gloving an attempted sweep onto the pads. Four balls later, Rohit mishit in front of long-off and this time, Ishant made no mistake. Ambati Rayudu and Kieron Pollard had seven overs to go, and managed to last till the end, but as evidence of how accurate the Sunrisers bowlers were, the partnership went over run a ball only twice in those overs.
Steyn came back well after an expensive opening over, signing off with six full and low balls in his last over. Thisara Perera wasn’t far behind apart from the 20th over that went for 16, finding swing on his full deliveries. Mumbai Indians don’t have a bad attack at all, but Dhawan is not in bad form either after that Test debut against Australia. A chase of 130 could easily have got close – Sunrisers defended 126 here against Pune Warriors – but Dhawan was in a different mood.
Pragyan Ojha created some pressure, giving just 18 in four overs, but Sunrisers broke away in the 12th over as Rohit tried Smith. Dhawan and Hanuma Vihari took 15 off Smith’s mediums. Dhawan bossed the attack after that, cutting, pulling and lofting over extra cover at will to end the game with a couple of overs left.