David Warner’s 76 set up a crushing nine-wicket victory for the defending champions, the Sunrisers Hyderabad, against the Gujarat Lions.
The Lions may have topped the group stages in last year’s IPL, but they’ve been thoroughly outplayed in both their opening games, taking only one wicket. It’s been the dream start for the champions, who opened the defence of their crown with a victory against the Royal Challengers Bangalore, before thrashing the Lions.
There were no South Africans involved on Sunday, but the Sunrisers made full use of their overseas players to bag the clinical win. Teenage leg-spinner Rashid Khan continues to light up the tournament, as he backed up his 2-36 on IPL debut with 3-19 in Hyderabad. The 18-year-old is Afghanistan’s first to play in the tournament, and he’s been dominating so far, trapping all three of Suresh Raina, Brendon McCullum and Aaron Finch lbw.
West Indian Dwayne Smith top-scored for the side as they posted 135-7, but it was all over 15.3 overs later.
The Lions will need to take a good look at their bowling options going forward. Chris Lynn and Gautam Gambhir set a record for the highest-opening stand in IPL history in the Kolkata Knight Riders’ victory over them on Friday. Warner and Moises Henriques did the damage this time around.
Warner, the second-highest run-getter in the IPL last year, scored 76 off 45 balls, while Henriques, who scored 52 against RCB last week, scored an unbeaten 52 this time, for the champions to chase down the target with 27 balls to spare.
In Mumbai meanwhile the Mumbai Indians won a thriller against the Kolkata Knight Riders with a ball to spare.
Manish Pandey’s 81 off 47 balls set the tone for KKR as they posted 178-7. Some questionable umpiring decisions pinned the Mumbai outfit back on several occasions, but they brought it back at the death.
The chase looked on as Parthiv Patel and Jos Buttler struck 68, but Patel fell for 30, before Buttler was trapped lbw for 28, with replays suggesting it was missing. Skipper Rohit Sharma was the next victim to a poor call, as he got bat on the ball before it crashed on to his pads for another lbw.
With the game looking all but lost with Kieron Pollard’s dismissal for 17, Hardik Panda, albeit helped along by some disastrous boundary fielding from KKR in the final overs, scored 29 off 11 balls to steal it for the Mumbai Indians, for their first victory of the season.
Photo: Prashant Bhoot/SportzPics/Cricinfo