David Warner’s epic stand allowed the Sunrisers Hyderabad to close the gap on the Kolkata Knight Riders with a 48-run victory over them.
David Warner proved once again why he is one of, if not the most, destructive batsmen in world cricket. His 126 off 59 balls was the fastest century ever against KKR, and the fourth-fastest in IPL history. It was his second century for the Sunrisers and the sixth of his career.
KKR have proven to be the best chasers in the IPL this season as they were looking for their sixth victory batting second, but the total they needed was 209-3, the Sunrisers’ highest-ever total, and it was also the highest ever total against KKR.
It was all set up by the skipper, who took just 19 balls to reach his fifty, and it was 25 balls into the innings of a partnership involving Shikhar Dhawan that was completely dominated by the Australian. It was the sixth century stand between Warner and Dhawan in the IPL, two more than any other pair, but Dhawan contributed only 18 of those runs.
It could have been different for KKR had Robin Uthappa stumped Dhawan when he was on 13, and Chris Woakes had caught Warner for a regulation catch on the boundary when he was 86, but it was not to be.
The pair scored 79 in the first six overs, with their sights set on an even larger total than they ended up getting, but Dhawan struggled to match the firepower of his partner. He was eventually run out for 29 off 30 deliveries, just after Warner brought up his century off 43 balls.
Warner continued the carnage. After eight sixes and 10 fours, he fell for 126. Kane Williamson continued the momentum as best he could, scoring 40 off 25 balls. KKR had it all to do, requiring 210.
Looking for their fourth victory on the trot, KKR were struggling in their pursuit from the onset. Sunil Narine fell for one off the bowling of Mohammed Siraj (2-26), while Gautam Gambhir, who had the Orange Cap going into this match, fell for 11, thanks to Siddarth Kaul (2-26).
With a slight rain delay in between, a vital partnership then followed from Uthappa and Manish Pandey as they gave their side a glimmer of hope. They struck 78 off the next 8.3 overs, with Uthappa notching up his fifth fifty of the tournament off just 24 balls.
They both fell from there however, within the space of nine balls, which brought their chances of a miraculous chase to a grinding halt. Siraj chipped in again to remove Uthappa for 53, this after Purple Cap holder Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2-29) had Pandey for 39 off 29 balls.
When they departed, the required run rate quickly escalated to above 15 an over, leaving a near-impossible task for the middle-lower order to navigate. Rahid Khan (1-38) had Yusuf Pathan for 12 off 13, and three overs later Kumar had his second to see off Sheldon Jackson for 16 off 17, as the Sunrisers stifled the batsmen.
The wicket of Colin de Grandhomme (18) off the final delivery completed the misery for KKR as they finished on 161-7, 48 runs short of the target.
In the earlier game, the Daredevils lost their sixth match of the season as they slumped to 67 all out against the Kings XI Punjab, the third-lowest total in IPL history.
It was Kings XI’s fourth victory of the campaign to keep their playoff hopes alive, as Hashim Amla (16) and Martin Guptill (50) saw them home with 12.1 overs to spare. It was a match to forget for Morris on his 30th birthday, scoring two and conceding 13 off his two wicketless overs. Kagiso Rabada (11) was one of three to post double-figure scores, but went for 18 off his two overs.
Photo: Ron Gaunt/IPL/Cricinfo