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Bangalore go down after Warner, Williamson onslaught

Wisden India logo Wisden India 30-04-2016

David Warner’s fifth half-century – a 52-ball 90 with 66 runs in boundaries – in the Indian Premier League 2016 took him to the top of the batting charts and set up Sunrisers Hyderabad’s 15-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Uppal on Saturday (April 30). But Kane Williamson’s 38-ball 50 and his second-wicket association of 124 runs in 12.1 overs with Warner was crucial in Hyderabad’s larger context of finding the right team composition going into the business end of the tournament.

With the middle order fickle, Williamson replaced an out of form Eoin Morgan for his first game of the season, and ended the debate about his place in the team in style. That big partnership took Hyderabad, put into bat after rain delayed the start by an hour, to 194 for 5. Then, some tight bowling and one spectacular run out restricted Bangalore to 179 for 6. With their fourth win, Hyderabad went to the fourth position on the table, and Bangalore were left with all to do after four losses in six games.

After Kane Richardson had Shikhar Dhawan caught and bowled with his extra bounce in the fourth over, Warner and Williamson showcased their big-stage smarts in front of an almost full house. They found the boundary within the first three balls of almost every over, leaving Virat Kohli short on options.

Warner made his intent clear when he welcomed Harshal Patel with a boundary off a no-ball and a six from the subsequent free hit in the sixth over. The gears shifted again in the 14th over and were upped further in the next bowled by Richardson when Warner hit the best shot of the match: a six over midwicket – a left-handed version of the helicopter shot off a full delivery outside the off stump – so impressive that even Kohli applauded the hit.

Eight short of a well-deserved century, Warner hit Tabraiz Shamsi straight to AB de Villiers at long-on, and Williamson, who was unsurprisingly elegant, and Naman Ojha then fell with a space of three deliveries. Hooda was run out for 2, but Moises Henriques’s three calculated biggies and a four during an unbeaten 14-ball 31 took Hyderabad to the highest-ever IPL total at the venue.

Just when Bangalore’s chase was gaining momentum through an opening-wicket partnership of 42 runs, Kohli slapped Mustafizur Rahman’s second delivery to cover only to see Ashish Reddy take a smart catch on the 30-yard line.

Unperturbed by the captain’s exit, Rahul played his best IPL knock so far, but Henriques had him caught behind off a faint edge for 52. In came Shane Watson, who had bowled an excellent final over to keep Hyderabad below 200, but lasted only three balls as Barinder Sran’s one-bounce throw from fine-leg produced a direct hit at the batting end, catching the batsman short of his ground by the smallest of margins.

All was not lost till then as de Villiers, dropped on 3 (fine-leg) and 17 (cover), found the boundary easily. His two consecutive sixes off Henriques to begin the 14th over nullified Hyderabad’s advantage, but his luck dried out as Williamson took a good running catch at deep midwicket in the next over to end the 32-ball 47 knock.

At that point, Bangalore needed 66 off 32 balls – quite achievable in T20s – but as hard as Sachin Baby, playing in place of Sarfaraz Khan as one of the four changes made by Bangalore, and Kedar Jadhav tried, they could not overpower the combined tactfulness of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rahman and Ashish Nehra.

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