Rajasthan Royals v Sunrisers Hyderabad, IPL 2013, Jaipur April 27, 2013

Faulkner, Watson swamp Sunrisers

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Rajasthan Royals 146 for 2 (Watson 98) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 144 for 9 (Sammy 60, Faulkner 5-20) by 8 wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

The match had almost all the ingredients of an absorbing Twenty20 contest. Sunrisers Hyderabad lost their top order in a cycle-stand collapse, before Darren Sammy led a lower-order revival to push the score to 144. On a pitch assisting the seamers, Rajasthan Royals had to deal with a testing opening period of swing and seam, which the experienced duo of Rahul Dravid and Shane Watson negotiated. Watson, coming off a century in Chennai, paced his innings and powered Royals home with a blistering unbeaten 98.

Watson wasn't the only Australian making waves at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium. James Faulkner demolished the Sunrisers' top order during a five-wicket haul, the first of IPL 2013. Faulkner and the innocuous Ajit Chandila reduced Sunrisers to 29 for 6, raising expectations of early finish. The top six registered scores of 2,0,4,4,6,4 - leaving much responsibility on Sammy.

Kumar Sangakkara had dropped himself for three games owing to his indifferent form, but his return made no difference as he joined the early procession of wickets. After Akshath Reddy fell off a leading edge against Chandila, Sangakkara chased a wide delivery from Faulkner and edged to second slip for 4.

Though the pitch gave a lot of assistance to the seamers in terms of movement and bounce, the shot selection by the Sunrisers was poor. Shikhar Dhawan slashed straight to backward point and Karan Sharma, walking in unexpectedly at No.5 - just as Amit Mishra did in Chennai - succumbed to the pressure of needing quick runs by top edging Faulkner to fine leg. Thisara Perera perished to a one-handed slog down to long-on before Hanuma Vihari gloved Kevon Cooper down the leg side. It was the first time Royals had managed so many wickets in the Powerplay.

Sammy and Amit Mishra scripted Sunrisers' recovery with a stand of 58. Sammy made room against the seamers to clear cover and shoveled the ball over midwicket to give the innings some impetus. He hit the first six of the innings in the 13th, a pull off Siddharth Trivedi over deep midwicket. He celebrated his fifty - his first in T20s - in unique style, pulling out a baby pacifier tied around his neck sucking at it, for his baby daughter.

The seventh, eighth and ninth wickets added 115, giving the Sunrisers bowlers a fighting total to try and defend.

Watson and Dravid, however, used their experience to counter the swing and prevent the loss of early wickets. Several deliveries came back into the right-hander, but Watson ensured he played the ball late, dabbing it down to third man and behind point. He did offer some chances, though. On 16, an outside edge off Perera just beat a diving Sangakkara, and another just dropped short of Sammy at slip.

Royals had progressed to 53 for 1 after ten overs, with the asking rate passing nine. The partnership gathered pace in the second half of the innings, Dravid launching Royals' march with a six over long-on. A costly Ishant Sharma over, which leaked 20, included three fours and a six by Watson. The next, off Perera, went for 15 and hastened Royals' march to the target. Three powerful blows to deep midwicket, by Watson off Karan Sharma, sealed a clinical win.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • IndianCoolGuy on April 29, 2013, 12:05 GMT

    Mr Sanga is a waste fellow. He should have put a slip in place for Watson and put pressure on him. Sanga missed at least 2 changes for watson to get him out when there was no slip fielder. Sanga is a bad captain for a short format. Sammy or White is far better than him. Sanga cannot bat in this format. Thank god that he realized that is not such a great batsmen to have place in the team only as a batsmen and at least now he weared glows. He is playing like a kid on t20 format. I dont know why he came back in the team again? does he feel that he is better than other?

  • sachin_vvsfan on April 29, 2013, 6:42 GMT

    I think Sammy is the best available player to lead SRH. Due respect to sangakkara , this format does not suit his style of play .

    Sammy, Perera, Steyn are must for SRH and the 4th player is a toss between white, sangakkara or dekock. I prefer white as he atleast delivers sometimes.

  • DylanBrah on April 29, 2013, 5:43 GMT

    LOL, of course there is slogging, it is T20! You want perfect form/technique go watch Test cricket like I do.

  • deathstar01 on April 28, 2013, 9:46 GMT

    Sunrisers top order is pathetic even Sangakara is failing in almost every match.

  • sfarazi on April 28, 2013, 8:15 GMT

    I believe this is the RR squad that could possibly take out IPL season 6! Still early days though but this team reminds of the RR back in 08' when they won the inaugural season :)

  • Yasin123Patel on April 28, 2013, 7:49 GMT

    watson hit shot of spinner is not slog. U know, when batsman goes on one knee and sweep the ball through the air, that called a slog sweep. U even don't understand what is sweep. Late cut isn't a bad shot. Only very few player can play it. It is the best shot vs spin. Lara is best on that. But watto play it against real pace. Its extraordinary. Don't show off your lack of knowledge abt cricket.

  • Baseball-Sucks on April 28, 2013, 7:15 GMT

    In Wikipedia, the examples for sloggers are listed as following - Shahid Afridi , Abdul Razzaq , Ian Botham , Lance Cairns , Ian Harvey , Fred Trueman , Shane Warne , Wasim Akram , Don Wilson , Chris Gayle , Yuvraj Singh , Virat Kohli , Kieron Pollard , LOL

  • Sandeep_Maddu on April 28, 2013, 7:03 GMT

    Getting to 144 was a great recovery by SRH, though the top order batsmen played reckless shots. It was a score they could defend with their bowling arsenal but credit goes to Watson. When players like Watson or Dhoni or Gayle try to see off the initial balls, giving respect to conditions, they become even more dangerous. SRH can take positive that more than they losing the match, it was Watson winning the match for Royals. However SRH now need to get some wins quickly, which might not be easy considering that 2 of their next 3 matches are against MI and CSK. SRH's games against DD and KPXI become absolutely crucial.

  • elgenioroshan on April 28, 2013, 6:21 GMT

    Those who consider Watson is a slogger then let me remind you what are Gayle and Dhoni? They are not class players. They hit the ball very hard and are very accomplished batsmen. So is Watson. He gets his runs cuz he is aggressive and uses a lot of power in his shots. But who cares as long as you get runs and ur team wins. I don't know why is there such a big issue over him. Whether he slogs or times the ball, as long as he scores runs give him credit rather than criticizing him. Peace!

  • landl47 on April 28, 2013, 4:00 GMT

    This innings illustrated perfecly why Watson is a very good short-format batsman but not a very good test batsman. On 49 he went for a drive to a ball wide of off-stump and not full enough to drive, got a juicy edge and the ball went waist-high past the keeper. It would have hit first slip in the stomach- but this is T20 and there was no first slip, so it went for 4.

    The point is that Watson would have played exactly the same shot in a test match, there would have been a first slip and he'd have been out. He doesn't have the smarts to change his game for the test match format. A good test player, like say Kallis, would play that shot in a T20 but not in a test match.

    It's often said that the most important 6 inches in cricket is the distance between your ears. Watson has a 'vacant' sign hanging there.