After being put in to bat, the Capitals ticked all the boxes as they climbed back to the top of the table with a routine win over a struggling Hyderabad side. Kagiso Rabada led the bowling attack with a three-wicket haul as Sunrisers found it tough from the onset. David Warner’s poor form this season continued as the opener fell for a duck in the very first over to hand Delhi a strong start.
Man-of-the-match Anrich Nortje handed Delhi the perfect start, scalping the big wicket on the very first over. Skipper Kane Williamson looked out of sorts as he was handed two lifelines, with Delhi dropping the SRH batsman twice in quick succession. But Williamson wasn’t third-time lucky Shimron Hetmyer ran in from long-off to remove the Hyderabad captain. The SRH batting line-up looked lackluster with no firepower to guide Hyderabad to a defendable total. Rashid Khan and Abdul Samad’s knocks in the death saw the struggling side reach 139/9 against a strong Delhi unit. For the Capitals, Rabada led the attack, picking up three, while Anrich Nortje and Axar Patel picked up two each to keep SRH in check.
In reply, Delhi chased down the target with 13 balls to spare. Though Delhi didn’t get the flying start with the young Prithvi Shaw falling for 11 off 8, Dhawan was once again in strong form as he smashed a 37-ball 42 to keep Delhi on course. But the partnership between former skipper Shreyas Iyer and current skipper Rishabh Pant saw the Capitals notch up a comfortable win and climb to the top of the table. Returning from injury Iyer, played a match-winning unbeaten 47 off 41, while Pant supported his former skipper with a solid 35 off 21 to hand Delhi a flying start to the second phase of the IPL 2021.
While Delhi ticked all the boxes, Hyderabad will have a lot to ponder about as they languish at the bottom of the table. Moreover, SRH was dealt with a covid scare just hours prior to the match, with pacer T Natarajan testing covid positive. The Hyderabad side was also missing the services of all-rounder Vijay Shankar. But both teams picked up from where they left off in the previous season, with Delhi continuing their strong show and Hyderabad languishing at the bottom of the table with just one win from eight matches. On the other hand, Delhi is placed on top of the table with seven wins from nine matches.
The pace of Nortje was at times unplayable for Sunrisers’ batters, with the South Africa seamer consistently reaching speeds of over 90 miles an hour. Bowling into the pitch, Nortje was disciplined with line and length throughout his four overs and was rewarded with a second wicket when he dismissed Kedar Jadhav. While Rabada was more expensive and less accurate than Nortje, his dismissals of dangerous duo Wriddhiman Saha (18) and Manish Pandey (17), and the wicket of Abdul Samad who top-scored with 28, were significant in limiting Sunrisers.
In reply, Delhi got off to a watchful start to reach 29-1 after five overs. Opener Shikhar Dhawan – the IPL’s top-scorer this season with 413 runs – shared a 52-run partnership with Iyer before he was caught in the deep-off the bowling of Rashid Khan. Former captain Iyer – who missed the first match of the tournament because of a shoulder injury – played a patient 41-ball unbeaten knock, while current skipper Rishabh Pant hit a quickfire 35 off 21 balls. Iyer pulled seamer Jason Holder over long-on for six to see Delhi over the line in style.
David Warner’s return to the Sunrisers’ starting XI did not go as planned, the Australian dismissed for a three-ball duck by Nortje. Warner was replaced as Sunrisers’ captain by Kane Williamson after the first six matches of the competition and then dropped for the seventh game before the tournament was postponed.
After Jonny Bairstow opted not to return to the franchise for the second installment of the IPL, the stage was set for Warner to rediscover the form which has seen him amass 3,887 runs in 149 IPL career innings. But his tame dismissal – a leading-edge chipped to point – could now mean an opportunity for England opener Jason Roy in Sunrisers’ next fixture against Punjab Kings on Saturday. Some Sunrisers fans feel Warner, who has scored four centuries and 50 half-centuries since making his IPL debut in 2009, will come good, while others are ready for the change…