MARCH 31, 2019
Brief Scorecard: Sunrisers Hyderabad 231 for 2 (Bairstow 114, Warner 100*) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 113 (de Grandhomme 37, Nabi 4-11, Sandeep 3-11) by 118 runs
HYDERABAD – With their third straight opening century stand, with the highest ever opening partnership in IPL, and with rapid centuries of their own, Jonny Bairstow and David Warner consigned Royal Challengers Bangalore to their third straight loss.
The 232 chase fell on Virat Kohli’s shoulder early in the innings, as Mohammed Nabi removed the top order, including the big scalp of AB de Villiers in the first four overs. Kohli crawled to 3 off nine in the Powerplay, but was out soon after. At one point, RCB slumped to 30 for 5, and it was game over.
The Warner-Bairstow demolition
Sunrisers reached the IPL final last year without Warner. This year, without Kane Williamson, their captain and IPL 2018’s highest run-getter, they’ve put on three century opening stands. On Sunday, the demolition mantle was taken over by Bairstow, who scored his second T20 century and first in the IPL, off 52 balls.
Kohli opted to bat because he expected the pitch to be slow in the first innings. He opened the bowling with Moeen Ali, and immediately saw Bairstow go after him. The second ball was swept for four to begin the boundary barrage. While Warner made room for deliveries that were outside off for punches and drives, and walked across to swat and nudge the others on the leg side, Bairstow mainly targeted the leg side right throughout.
In the Powerplay, Bairstow hit Mohammed Siraj for consecutive fours in the fourth and sixth overs when he went short or wide. There was a hint of the openers slowing down when 16-year-old debutant legspinner Prayas Ray Barman conceded only six off his first over, the seventh of the innings, but they didn’t take long to line him up. Bairstow tore into Barman off his next.
He followed an inside-out six over the covers with two fours on the leg side to bring up a 28-ball half-century. Bairstow even hogged the strike from there for the rest of the partnership, with plenty of swipes and lofted sixes on the leg side, mixed with technically-correct drives and punches when required.
Bairstow was equally punishing off Colin de Grandhomme, dispatching two slower short balls for six. Exactly three overs after Warner brought up his 32-ball fifty in the 13th over, Bairstow reached his century with a couple off Barman. He celebrated the milestone the way Warner does – with a running leap and helmet in his hand. His first 50 runs saw more runs through fours (nine) than sixes (one), but his acceleration from 50 to 100 featured four sixes and only three fours.
Barman returned to bowl the 16th, and conceded 20, the most expensive over of the innings. Bairstow fell soon after, but the damage had been done. Warner was on 70 off 42 balls then with 21 deliveries to go. From there, he struck Siraj and Umesh for sixes, and ran several singles and doubles even after he had batted through a hot Hyderabad afternoon. With a single on the last ball of the 19th over, he had six balls to face and seven to get to century. By steering a low full toss past short third man for four, Warner showed the original celebratory leap for his fourth IPL hundred. Siraj’s 0 for 38 were the most economical figures of the innings.
The Nabi and Sandeep damage
With that stiff a target, Royal Challengers opened with Shimron Hetmyer instead of Moeen but the move didn’t work. Nabi struck off the last ball of his second over when Parthiv chipped a full toss to cover for 11. Hetmyer struck Bhuvneshwar Kumar for a six next over but stepped out as soon as Nabi returned and was stumped by Bairstow for 9. De Villiers averted Nabi’s hat-trick but was out trying to loft over cover, only to be undone by flight and turn.
All eyes were on Kohli now, especially Sandeep’s. The swing bowler had already dismissed Kohli fives times previously in the IPL and made it six in only 42 balls overall in 10 innings, although with an innocuous delivery. Kohli drilled a full delivery from outside off straight to cover and with him gone for 3 off 10, the visitors’ hopes were dashed. To add to their misery, there were three run-outs, but all while they were trying to delay the inevitable.
Barman and de Grandhomme’s 51-run stand helped lend some respectability. De Grandhomme struck a six and two fours off Rashid Khan in consecutive overs while Barman tried rotating the strike to keep the partnership run rate over six an over. That, however, only narrowed the margin of another humiliating loss for Royal Challengers.