David Warner falling early = Sunrisers Hyderabad losing the match – that is simple IPL maths. With the SRH skipper unable to do what he does best, the Sunrisers batsmen folded faster than a lawn chair, and the Rising Pune Supergiants got the win they so badly needed in IPL 2016.
In a match that was delayed by an hour due to a welcome shower, in terms of the heat in Hyderabad, SRH came out cold, allowing the RPS bowlers, led by Ashok Dinda (4-1-23-3), to work up a head of steam and keep them to 118/8 in the 20 overs.
The expert hands of Faf Du Plessis and Steve Smith oversaw the chase, with the with the Rising Pune Supergiants, on 94 for three, picking up a seven-wicket win – their first in five games – courtesy the Duckworth-Lewis method as the rains came down again at the end of the 11th over.
There was only one thing SRH, coming off three consecutive wins, could do to win this game and that was to bowl the RPS batsmen out. They started off pretty well, as Ajinkya Rahane, much like Warner, fell in the first over, but once Du Plessis and Smith settled, there was only ever going to be one result.
The two right-handers were a little jittery to begin with, understandable, considering their team had lost four matches in a row, but once those early innings nerves went, it was all about the smooth cricketing strokes and the manoeuvring of the ball.
When the two are in full flow, they are a joy to watch, and with the pressure of the big score off, Smith (46 n.o., 36b, 7x4) and Du Plessis (30, 21b, 3x4, 2x6) turned on the silky-smooth style for a while, before the South African fell to Henriques. Dhoni (5, 4b, 1x4) came in to big cheers from the Hyderabad crowd, and after starting off his innings with a boundary over mid-on, he fell a little while later, with the rains returning just as the captain's wicket fell to bring a halt to the match and give RPS a Duckworth-Lewis victory.
Earlier, the SRH batting showed just how reliant they are on Warner, collapsing quicker than a sandcastle in a storm, once Warner cut a wide ball from Dinda straight to Rahane at backward point.
The problem with this SRH batting lineup is that they just seem to lose the belief that they can still put on a big score even with Warner gone. Once their skipper departed early, Shikhar Dhawan and Aditya Tare, instead of trying to make a statement by taking on the RPS bowlers, played conservative cricket, and that allowed the opponents to turn on the screws, and once that happened, there really was no escape.
Tare (8, 14b, 1x4) fell to a short ball from, while Eoin Morgan followed soon after, edging one through to MS Dhoni off Mitchell Marsh. Deepak Hooda, so disappointing this season, and Moises Henriques then departed after adding just a run each and courtesy two brilliant catches from Dhoni, leaving the Sunrisers Hyderabad on 32/5 in 8.1 overs.
There was no way the Sunrisers were going to post a defendable score from that position, even with Dhawan (56, 53b, 2x4, 1x6) playing a decent innings and Naman Ojha (18, 21b, 1x6) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (21, 8b, 3x4, 1x6) chipping in with a few runs.