In an entertaining day of IPL action, the Sunrisers Hyderabad held on for a seven-run victory over the Rajasthan Royals, while the Kolkata Knight Riders were also successful in the defence of their total, beating the Delhi Daredevils by 13 runs.
The Royals, led by Shane Watson, have slowed down in the competition, losing four of their last seven after winning their first five.
The dangerous opening pair of Shikhar Dhawan and David Warner have produced the goods so far in this tournament, and they got off to an explosive start once again against the Royals, powering to a 48-run stand before Warner perished to teammate Watson for 24.
Moises Henriques then continued the assault as he added 39 more runs with Dhawan, with the Indian opener bringing up his fifty. It would be Englishman Eoin Morgan however to manufacture the lethal blow. He shrugged off his nightmare World Cup campaign with a 28-ball 63, to push the Sunrisers to 201. Chris Morris finished with disappointing figures of 0-38 from his four overs.
The Royals struggled in response, as the usually reliable orange-cap holder Ajinkya Rahane departed for eight, before Watson was sent back for 12. Steve Smith however produced a brilliant innings to keep his side in it.
Batsmen fell around him, but he pushed on to 68 off just 40 balls. Ravi Bopara, a controversial selection ahead of Dale Steyn, bowled him.
With victory all but wrapped up James Faulkner and Sanju Samson kept things interesting, and an 11-ball 34 from Morris almost got the Royals over the line, but too much was left to do in the end as they fell seven runs short.
Then it was the turn of the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Delhi Daredevils to do battle, as Duminy’s Daredevils were out to avoid three defeats in a row.
Sunil Narine’s bowling action was cleared, prompting an exciting selection for KKR. The batsmen needed to do a job first, but the contributions at the top of the order weren’t overwhelming, as Gautam Gambhir fell cheaply, while Robin Uthappa made 32.
Manish Pandey and Piyush Chawla chipped in with a pair of 22s, but Yusuf Pathan would make the total a competitive one, thanks to a 24-ball 42, before Imran Tahir got back in the wickets column, albeit in expensive fashion. Johan Botha then smashed four of the five balls he faced for four as they finished strongly, eventually settling for 171-7.
Shreyas Iyer and Manoj Tiwary were stifled in their run chase as they barely pushed above six an over, dramatically increasing the required run-rate in the process. The pain would end for Tiwary in the tenth over as he fell for 28 off the bowling of Chawla, and it was Chawla to continue to do the damage, wiping away the entirety of the middle order.
The 44-year-old Brad Hogg accounted for Iyer, before Chawla saw off Duminy, Kedar Jadhav and Yuvraj Singh in quick succession. It was too little too late in Angelo Mathews and Saurabh Tiwary’s efforts to rescue the game, as they fell 13 runs short of the mark, leaving the Daredevils second from bottom in the standings.