Rain was the order of the IPL 2015 double-header day on Wednesday, with the match between the Sunrisers Hyderabad and the Kolkata Knight Riders falling prey to the elements – much like the late game between RCB and CSK – which inevitably resulted in a curtailed game.
Put into bat first by Gautam Gambhir, the Sunrisers Hyderabad rode on a brilliant 91 from David Warner to post 176/4 in their 20 overs. And, just when the KKR batsmen were raring to go in the chase, rain pelted down in Vizag, with the interruption going long enough to cut the second innings down to 12 overs.
The target was reduced to 118, which KKR would have fancied chasing down, with ten wickets and plenty of big-hitters in the shed.
However, Gautam Gambhir and his usually-clinical-in-the-chase-band could not quite find their six and four-hitting groove with the bat, despite plenty of gifts from the SRH fielders via dropped catches.
Both Robin Uthappa, in the first over from Dale Steyn, and Gambhir, a couple of overs later from the same great man, were dropped, with KL Rahul grassing a simple catch in the slips and Praveen Kumar doing the same at third man. However, make full use of those dropped catches the two openers could not quite do, even if Uthappa made a nice little 34 (21b, 2x4, 2x6).
With a surging opening not coming their way as Gambhir played-on to Praveen, and that required run rate creeping up all the time, an Andre Russell (19, 10b, 1x4, 2x6) special was needed, but the West Indian, despite threatening to do just that with a couple of lusty blows, fell to the guiles of Ravi Bopara, and then Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Praveen shut the rest of the batsmen out completely with some outstanding death bowling.
KKR could only manage 101/4 in their 12 overs in the end, giving SRH an eventually comfortable 16-run win, their second in five IPL 2015 matches.
The Sunrisers innings was all about their main man, the captain and chief marauder Warner, with the left-hander getting his own brand of pyrotechnics out to great effect, much to the delight of the Vizag crowd.
When Warner is in full flow, no bowling can stop him, and the SRH skipper did pretty well to ensure he was settled before going into tonk-town. So much of the Sunrisers Hyderabad batting depends on their openers Warner and Shikhar Dhawan, and when they make runs, invariably SRH get to a big score.
So, a big score it was always going to be – maybe not as big as they would have liked when Warner was on-song, but big enough nonetheless – with the two left-handers putting on 130 runs for the first wicket.
Dhawan (54, 56b, 4x4, 1x6) played second fiddle in the partnership, happy to rotate the strike and give as much of the ball-facing to Warner as possible.
The first eight or so overs was fairly quiet, with SRH only making 56, but then Warner (91, 55b, 9x4, 4x6) decided to bring those six-hitting powers to the fore, with Yusuf Pathan going for the first six of the match. There were plenty more maximums and a fair few fours as well after that as Warner raced towards his 100.
KKR needed his wicket if they were to stop SRH to a score below 200, and Gautam Gambhir's decision to bring his striker bowler – Morne Morkel – worked as Warner fell to a the pull shot.
The Sunrisers Hyderabad momentum quelled quite a bit after that, even if Naman Ojha thumped a couple of sixes, with KKR doing really well to the keep the final score to 176, which via rain and some good bowling proved to be more than enough.