The Sunrisers Hyderabad did a stellar job for the second consecutive game, and then David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan saw the team home in style to hand the Gujarat Lions a first ever defeat in the IPL. The positive result was SRH's second straight win in IPL 2016, giving them a bit of momentum to build on for the rest of the season.
Choosing to field first, like most teams have done in IPL 2016, SRH got Aaron Finch, the man of the match in three of the Gujarat Lions' first three matches, out early and then survived a Suresh Raina (75, 51b, 9x4) special to keep the home team to just 135/8 in Rajkot.
Warner (74 n.o., 48b, 9x4) was ridiculously good again in the chase, pacing it perfectly, as Dhawan (53 n.o., 41b, 5x4), desperate for some form, happily played second fiddle, initially, before finding some of his old touch to take SRH to a comprehensive ten-wicket win with 5.1 overs to spare.
When defending such a small total, the only way to make a game of it is to get early wickets, and despite going with Dale Steyn, who came in for James Faulkner, in this game, the Gujarat Lions never really looked like dismissing the danger man Warner. With Dhawan taking no risks and happy to rotate the strike, those early strikes never came and with it went GL's chances of a win.
Warner, who scored a brilliant unbeaten 90 in the Sunrisers Hyderabad's last win, over the Mumbai Indians, was outstanding again, using the aggressive option when he needed to without being too reckless. There were the odd ooh and ah moments here and there, but for the most part, this chase was rather comfortable for the Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Earlier, the Gujarat Lions failed to post a score of note, despite a brilliant innings from Raina. Finch, coming off three consecutive half-centuries, was castled by a wonderful in-swinger from Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the first over of the innings, leaving the Gujarat Lions to bank on someone else to take them to a big score.
The GL captain stepped up to the plate in that sense, but the left-hander just did not get any support, with Brendon McCullum (18, 17b, 1x4, 1x6), despite a couple of big hits, unable to get a move on on this slow-paced wicket.
Raina is the master of playing on the slow pitches, and it showed too as the left-hander went a healthy strike rate right through the innings, and had he found an able partner at the other end, the final score could have well been 30 runs more. But, that was not to be as the SRH bowlers, led by Bhuvneshwar (4-0-29-4), who picked up three wickets in the final over to take over the Purple Cap, and Mustafizur Rahman (4-0-19-1), did brilliantly to keep the form team in the IPL to a score well below par.