The Sunrisers Hyderabad’s decision not to select South African fast bowler Dale Steyn continued to perplex, as the Rajasthan Royals swooped to a tight six-wicket victory in Thursday’s key Indian Premier League fixture in Visakhapatnam.
The result increased Rajasthan’s lead in the eight-team standings, on the back of four consecutive triumphs, while Hyderabad slipped to sixth position after just one win in three matches this year.
The Sunrisers again preferred New Zealand left-armer Trent Boult to Steyn, who has more wickets than any other non-Indian in the history of the IPL.
The Black Caps import proved expensive and snared just one wicket, as the Royals reached a challenging target of 128 with zero deliveries to spare, thanks largely to opening batsman Ajinkya Rahane’s commanding 62 – and all-rounder Stuart Binny’s unbeaten cameo through the closing throes of the last-ball finish.
Earlier, Proteas seamer Chris Morris took a backseat to the successful exploits of the homegrown Dhawal Kulkarni and Pravin Tambe. Morris delivered three rather ineffective overs and dropped a straightforward catch, while Kulkarni and Tambe combined well for four key wickets in an inadequate Hyderabad total of 127 for five.
The Sunrisers will seek redemption against the Delhi Daredevils, who boast the services of South Africans Quinton de Kock, Imran Tahir, Albie Morkel and JP Duminy – and are coached by Gary Kirsten – at the same venue on Saturday. The Royals, coached by Paddy Upton, will face the Chennai Super Kings, completed by the recruitment of Kyle Abbott and Faf du Plessis, in Ahmedabad on Sunday.