Hyderabad's captain, David Warner's, third half century of the season helped his side complete a ten-wicket win over Gujarat in the Indian Twenty20 competition at Rajkot on Thursday.
Warner, with scores of 58, 13 and 90* earlier in the competition, set about the 135-run chase - with his partner Shikhar Dhawan - confidently and thumped Dale Steyn for two fours in the first over itself.
Gujarat's powerful batting line up - comprising of Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch and Dinesh Karthik, had failed to produce a sizeable contribution in their innings. Their captain, Suresh Raina, was the only Gujarat batsman that troubled Hyderabad's bowlers as he smashed 75 from 51 balls.
Gujarat's bowlers looked to make early in roads on a sluggish Rajkot surface, but they failed as the Warner-Dhawan combine gave Hyderabad just the start they needed. While a woefully out of form, Dhawan, took his time to settle, Warner raced to 36 from just 19 balls and targeted both Gujarat's new-ball bowlers in Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Steyn.
Raina brought himself on to stub the run flow, but he too failed as Warner powered him for two boundaries as well. The early onslaught put the home side out of the contest early, as Hyderabad needed just 73 runs from 14 overs.
Pravin Tambe and Dwayne Bravo applied the brakes, for a short while, but the early damage rendered their efforts futile, as Hyderabad openers remained unbeaten through their innings to guide their side home with 31 balls to spare. Warner's 48-ball 74, included nine boundaries, while Dhawan found form with an impressive 41-ball 53.
"I have to give credit to the bowlers. Gives us a great opportunity to play the way we want to play with the bowlers restricting the opposition," Warner said. "Felt it would keep low, we knew the ball wouldn't spin, be a bit two paced. Our bowlers were fantastic. Bhuvi and Fizzy, his change of pace is very different. I faced him in Bangalore and he tried to knock my block off. Its a great art to change the pace as he does. It's 2 pound 12 ounces. I think the master Sachin Tendulkar used a bat that weighed that much. Helps to be in form, have to ride the roller coaster. Proud of the way the bowlers are bowling and if we keep chasing totals like this, we'll go a long way in the tournament"