Rahul Tewatia and Riyan Parag scripted a memorable comeback for Rajasthan Royals as they put behind their four match consecutive defeats streak with a brilliant win. Batting first, SRH made 158 and had RR on the ropes with them struggling at 78 for 5 but then the great Tewatia show returned.
Massive fall in SRH's Powerplay yields
One of the hallmarks of Sunrisers Hyderabad's last year journey was the way they blazed through the first six overs, thanks to David Warner and Jonny Bairstow, two of the best white-ball openers in the world. In fact, in the 2019 IPL, their average powerplay score of 55.92 was the best in the tournament. Come this year, it has fallen down to 42.8, despite the presence of both Warner and Bairstow at the top. Only once they have added more than 50 in the first six overs in IPL 2020 and today, it was their worst start of the season as they merely managed 26 runs and lost a wicket in the powerplay. In the last game, when the Hyderabad openers blasted 58 in first six overs, we thought they might have brushed aside the issue but that has certainly not been the case. For a top three dominant team, these are terrible returns.
David 'Bull' Warner makes a good comeback
Coming into the 2020 IPL, SRH skipper wasn't in the best of form as he had a terrible limited-overs series against England. It took him a few games, but now he's finally looking relaxed and will only be getting better as the tournament progresses, which will go a long way in Hyderabad's quest to make it to the playoffs. Today against Rajasthan Royals, the pocket dynamo might have missed his fifty but his 38-ball-48 kept SRH afloat especially after his opening partner Jonny Bairstow failed and Manish Pandey was struggling to score at better than run-a-ball. In the preceding games as well, the southpaw had got scores of 52 and 60 against Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians respectively. With 275 runs after seven games at close to 40, the Aussie southpaw has also entered the list of top four run-getters, this season and can be a real menace in the upcoming games.
Kane 'finisher' Williamson adding firepower to SRH
Once you get typecast as a certain player, you are often judged on that and narratives are rolled out to satisfy the collective consensus. Kane Williamson, who has not been considered good enough for the shortest format, is turning heads with his useful cameos for SRH that too batting in middle-order than top order, which arguably comprises the most difficult batting positions. After being benched for the first few games despite Hyderabad's lacklustre middle-order, Williamson had announced himself in style against DC on his comeback as he made a 26-ball-41. But as soon as he failed in the next two games, there were whispers of dropping him again. But Kane returned to his best and made an unbeaten 10-ball-20 against KXIP, last game, which he followed up today with a 12*-ball-22 and helped SRH reach a good total of 158. For someone like Kane, who has to prove himself over and again, that was a much-needed cameo and should do a world of good to his confidence.
Rajasthan Royals' never-ending failed opening experiments
Rajasthan Royals, who are top three heavy, were slated to get a major boost with the return of all-rounder Ben Stokes, expected to strengthen the middle-order but Steven Smith and RR think-tank surprised one and all by sending Ben Stokes to open with Jos Buttler. This was RR’s fourth different opening combination in the seven games they have played thus far. The likes of Jaiswal-Smith, Buttler-Smith, Buttler-Jaiswal and now Buttler-Stokes have opened for them in the 2020 IPL and we are just at the halfway stage. The move backfired badly as Ben Stokes got out early and made just five. It's quite surprising that Buttler and Stokes, two of the world's best finishers in white-ball cricket, haven't been utilized in the middle-order especially given their poor existing resources. With Robin Uthappa, Jaiswal, and Manan Vohra available, they could assign their English stalwarts the tougher role of acing the middle-overs, where RR have been shambolic.