Abu Dhabi - While the first match at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi between Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings was a run-feast, bowlers ruled the roost in the second fixture with Rajasthan Royals piping Sunrisers Hyderabad by four wickets in a low-scorer to open their IPL 7 campaign on a winning note.
With a bowling line-up consisting of Dale Steyn, Amit Mishra, Bhuvneshwar Kuamr and Ishant Sharma, SRH had managed to defend low scores in IPL 6, and going into the dug out during the mid-innings break of their first IPL 7 match after posting a below-par 133, the Hyderabad-based team would have fancied their chances of a win. And the likes of Kumar, Steyn and Mishra almost delivered only to be denied by Ajinkya Rahane's 53-ball 59 and Stuart Binny's 32-ball 48* in trying conditions.
A crucial 77-run stand for the fourth wicket between the duo kept their team in the hunt after the Shane Watson-led side found themselves under the pump early in the chase. With a hint of moisture in the air, RR medium-pacers led by veteran medium-pacer Rajat Bhatia (2 for 22) had restricted SRH to 133, but Steyn and Kumar produced a very hostile spell of fast bowling first up pressuring the RR batsmen. Opener Abhishek Nayar (4), number three batsman Sanju Samson (3) and skipper Shane Watson (4) were sent packing by the 7th over with the score on 31.
But, Rahane at the other end was able to wither the storm starting off in a very dodgy fashion but more importantly holding one end tight before opening up. Allrounder Binny supported the opener well taking the ariel route more often to release the pressure. Both Rahane and Binny were successful in keeping the asking rate under check in the middle overs. Ishant Sharma, who got the wicket of Watson, and Darren Sammy were dealt with ease while legspinner Mishra was denied a wicket in his first two overs. After reaching the 40s, Rahane scored two back-to-back boundaries of Steyn in the 15th over hinting that he will take his team home but Mishra scalped the right-hander before fellow legspinner Karn Sharma bowled a marvelous 17th over conceding just two runs. With 24 needed of 18, Mishra got rid off Brad Hodge (1) but Binny kept RR in the hunt as the next over bowled by Steyn was taken for nine runs.
With equation at 8 runs off 6 balls, Binny took a single off the first ball before James Faulkner crashed two consecutive boundaries off Kumar to seal the game.
Earlier, after being put into bat, Sunrisers had lost opener Aaron Finch in the first over itself for two hitting a short ball straight to the hands of the cover field Kane Richardson off Dhawal Kulkarni. Warner and Dhawan then steadied the SRH innings with a 75-run stand which came in 64 balls.
Medium-pacers Kulkarni and Richardson kept the explosive duo in check for the first ten overs, while Bhatia, legspinner Pravin Tambe and Binny continued the good the work building more and more pressure with some clever variations.
In a pitch that saw over 400 runs being scored in the previous match, batting looked a bit tough with the ball seaming around and gripping a bit due to the moist conditions. Dhawan (38, 34 balls, 3x4, 1x6) and Warner (32, 35 balls, 1x4) though lost the plot after getting their eye in gifting their wickets to Bhatia. Both the left-handers dragged outside-off deliveries and not timing the ball well getting out at the wrong time.
KL Rahul (20, 18 balls, 1x4, 1x6) and Sammy (6, 11 balls) were also bogged down and SRH lost wickets in a heap trying to up the ante finishing at 133 for 6. Apart from Bhatia, Kulkarni and Richardson also picked two wickets each maintaining a decent economy.
Bangalore v Mumbai
starts in Dubai at 3:30PM
Kolkata v Delhi
starts in Dubai at 7:30 PM
AJ Finch c Richardson b Kulkarni 2
S Dhawan c Richardson b Bhatia 38
DA Warner c Richardson b Bhatia 32
KL Rahul c Rahane b Kulkarni 20
DJG Sammy c Samson b Richardson 6
Y Venugopal Rao not out 16
KV Sharma c Hodge b Richardson 4
DW Steyn not out 0
EXTRAS: (b 1, lb 5, w 9) 15
TOTAL: (6 wickets; 20 overs) 133
FOW: 1-2, 2-77, 3-82, 4-108, 5-111, 6-130
BOWLING: DS Kulkarni 4-0-23-2, KW Richardson 4-0-25-2, JP Faulkner 3-0-27-0, PV Tambe 4-0-23-0, R Bhatia 4-0-22-2, STR Binny 1-0-7-0.
AM Nayar lbw b Steyn 4
AM Rahane c Finch b Mishra 59
SV Samson c Dhawan b Kumar 3
SR Watson c Rahul b I Sharma 3
STR Binny not out 48
BJ Hodge c Sammy b Mishra 1
R Bhatia c Finch b Steyn 4
JP Faulkner not out 8
EXTRAS: (lb 3, w 2) 5
TOTAL: (6 wickets; 19.3 overs) 135
FOW: 1-4, 2-15, 3-31, 4-108, 5-111, 6-121
BOWLING: DW Steyn 4-0-29-2, B Kumar 3.3-0-21-1, I Sharma 4-0-29-1, DJG Sammy 2-0-19-0, A Mishra 4-0-26-2, KV Sharma 2-0-8-0
TOSS: Jaipur T20
POTM: AM Rahane (Jaipur)
UMPIRES: BF Bowden (NZ), RK Illingworth (Eng)
TV UMPIRE: C Shamshuddin (Ind)
MATCH REFEREE: AJ Pycroft (Zim)