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IPL 2015 SRH vs KKR: Kumars, Warner Help Sunrisers Win In Rain

By on April 22, 2015

Sunrisers Hyderabad 176 for 4 (Warner 91, Dhawan 54, Morkel 2-31) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 101 for 4 in 12 overs (Uthappa 34) by 16 runs (D/L method)…

Sunrisers Hyderabad overcame a limp finish to their innings, a Duckworth-Lewis readjustment, wet outfield, dropped catches, and fumbles in the field to successfully defend 117 in 12 overs.

For the first 8.4 overs of the chase, 80 runs came during which, the game was headed towards Kolkata Knight Riders, but a back-of-the-hand slower ball from Ravi Bopara and then three exceptional and yorker-filled overs from the Kumars of the badlands of Meerut made sure Knight Riders couldn’t score 37 off the last three overs.

It was all going wrong for Sunrisers: David Warner found little support to his 55-ball 91 with the rest failing to even double the score in 10 balls more, Duckworth-Lewis wasn’t exceptionally kind to them, the conditions were wet ruling the spinners out, three catches were missed in the first four overs, and Andre Russell and Manish Pandey were threatening to turn this into a stroll.

Russell was 19 off 9, Pandey 20 off 14, to go with Robin Uthappa’s 34 off 21, but then Russell went for a big hit off Bopara.

IPL 2015 SRH vs KKR: David Warner

Credits: ESPN CricInfo

It was a slower ball bowled out of the back of the hand, hit the bottom of the hand, and went straight to Dale Steyn at long-on. Steyn had seen two catches go down in his first over, but made no mistake here. Still with seven wickets in hand, wet conditions, and 38 required off 19 you would have backed the chasing side.

Not, however, when Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Praveen Kumar are bowling to Indian batsmen. These two skilled but military medium quicks, who play first-class cricket for Uttar Pradesh, have got better of every batsman on the Indian circuit. For the next 15 balls they put on a workshop on how to defend when conditions are against you.

They did nothing fancy, but went about executing the most difficult bowling skill in limited-overs cricket: the yorker. They erred on a few conditions, but never on the short side.

Pandey and Yusuf Pathan, with due respect to their IPL records, are not the best when the bowling is of a certain quality. That certain quality was reached here. Both the batsmen were stifled and frustrated, but couldn’t do much. Bhuvneshwar bowled the 10th over.

The batsmen did managed to convert a couple of yorkers into low full tosses, but they had no room to swing their arms at. One of the six balls was a yorker outside off, and it beat the outside edge of Yusuf, who was camping back. Five runs later, Bhuvneshwar handed over the baton to the wilier and more experienced Praveen.

Praveen had earlier bowled an over in which he came from a six and four off the first two balls with four yorkers that went for one run and a wicket. He continued doing that with the wet ball. There were two fumbles in the over that converted ones into twos, Praveen let that frustration show on his face but not on the ball.

The first four were near perfect, they went for five, and with 27 required off eight he slipped in a slower legcutter to make it 26 off seven. A low full toss and a misfield followed, but Knight Riders still needed 25 to win off the last over.

Bhuvneshwar refused to budge off the plan. Pandey hit the first ball, a low full toss, straight to deep midwicket, and Yusuf found extra cover on the full next ball.

Incredibly, in the space of 14 balls, the Kumars had turned what looked like a stroll for Knight Riders into sixes required off each ball. New batsman Suryakumar Yadav could get only a single off the third ball thus ending the game, and in the end Knight Riders barely went past Warner’s 91.

While the support cast chipped in with the ball, the batting was largely dominated by Warner. On a slow pitch, with the ball turning, Warner batted a level above the others. He used a switch hit, some bullying, and some crisp hitting to get the better of spinners.

Shikhar Dhawan at the other end struggled to time the ball, but he provided Warner support going at a run a ball. When Warner fell, though, for 91 out of the 130 scored when he was in the middle, Sunrisers needed Dhawan to step it up from his run-a-ball innings until then.

Dhawan couldn’t, nor could the other batsmen that followed, which meant only 46 came off the last 34 balls. That pales in comparison of 20 off the last three overs, which is what the Kumars reduced Knight Riders to.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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