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Leg-spinner Rashid Khan (3/19) and seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2/21) put up impressive bowling performances to help Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) outplay Gujarat Lions (GL) by nine wickets and register their second consecutive win in the Indian Premier League (IPL) here on Sunday. Thanks to the heroics of 19-year-old Afghan slow bowler Rashid and India medium pacer Bhuvneshwar, the defending champions restricted Gujarat Lions (GL) to a low total of 135/7 at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium. The target never appeared a challenge for the hosts, who rode on pyrotechnics from captain David Warner (76 not out off 45 deliveries) and Moises Henriques (52 not out off 39 balls) to maul the inefficient and inexperienced Gujarat bowlers and give Hyderabad an easy victory with 4.3 overs to spare.
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Even though opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan (9) fell to Praveen Kumar, the power-hitting of Warner and Henriques meant that it was smooth sailing for Hyderabad. Warner whacked six fours and four sixes, while his fellow Australian Henriques hit six fours to give Gujarat not even a toehold in the match. Hyderabad were put in firm control during their bowling, by Rashid and Bhuvneshwar. Put in to bat, Gujarat opener Jason Roy's 21-ball 31 threatened Hyderabad early. But Rashid, with his discipline and guile, came and applied the brakes. Struggling opening batsman Brendon McCullum was trapped leg before wicket with a googly from Rashid in the fifth over. In the next over, Roy, who slammed five boundaries, was the next batsmen to go. Roy was caught by Dhawan at the midwicket off a delivery from Bhuvneshwar to leave his side at 37/2.
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Skipper Suresh Raina (5) and Aaron Finch (3) also failed to step up to the occasion as both were adjudged leg before wicket off Rashid in back-to-back overs. With Gujarat tottering at 57/4 in nine overs, wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik (30) and Dwayne Smith (37) played sensible innings by rotating the strike and punishing the bad balls. They built a 56-run partnership for the fifth wicket to steady the fort before Smith ran out of patience and decided to take on Bhuvneshwar. The West Indian failed to pick a slower delivery and the ball ended up in the hands of Vijay Shankar at the deep mid-wicket. With half of their side back in the pavilion, all eyes were on Karthik, who was playing brilliantly in the middle. But Ashish Nehra smashed Gujarat's hopes as he dismissed Karthik with a short ball which saw the batsman trying to scoop and being caught by wicketkeeper Naman Ojha.
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Dhawal Kulkarni (1) was run out by Rashid in the same over. With two overs remaining and Gujarat reeling at 117/7, the lower-order only managed to add 18 runs. Basil Thampi scored 13 runs and Gujarat Lions totalled 135/7 in their allotted 20 overs.
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The total, proved to be no challenge for the likes of Warner and Henriques, who dominated Tejas Baroka, Basil Thampi, Raina, Dhawal Kulkarni and Praveen Kumar.