All star of the match
Williamson gives Sunrisers the extra gear
On a tough pitch with variable bounce, the Sunrisers Hyderabad captain provided a batting template that his Rajasthan Royals counterpart failed to emulate
All-star of the match
Only two batsmen managed half-centuries in the match, and both were contrasting knocks. It was down to intent, and Kane Williamson
showed plenty of it, even if the approach was calculative. This was in stark contrast to Ajinkya Rahane, who played patiently in the chase but could not accelerate when the situation needed it.
Williamson isn't a natural biffer of the ball, but what he marries so elegantly is timing and the ability to rise above his limitations - he's a slow starter - in the shortest format. His strike rate of 125 for his first 10 balls this season is 21st out of 35 batsmen to have faced 75 plus balls - but he's found ways to make up for this shortcoming. This was all the more incredible on Sunday because he did so on a slow surface made even tougher for stroke-makers because of Jaipur's 43-degree heat.
Williamson walked in to bat in the third over. At the other end was Alex Hales, an IPL debutant who had spent three weeks on the bench. Williamson was dropped on 11; his next six balls fetched just four runs and the Powerplay yielded just 39. It seemed like pressure was increasing, but it wasn't. Williamson was sussing the conditions, backing himself to fight, and tactically ensuring Sunrisers didn't end up aiming for too many on a surface where he had the attack to defend a moderate total.
The wow moment
Jaydev Unadkat's default option is a cutter on a length. Williamson outfoxed him, and the manner in which he changed the momentum by hitting three fours and a six stood out.
In the 12th over, Unadkat first saw his slower length ball being paddled over short fine leg. Then he pitched full, but Williamson was ready for it. He read the length, backed away, and lofted the seam-up length ball over extra cover. There was not much of a flourish, but the timing allowed the ball to clear long-off with ease.
The third boundary was the best. With deep cover and long-off in place, Unadkat went around the stumps and angled in a length ball. This time, Williamson made room and then unfurled his wrists to slap the ball to the left of sweeper cover. The fielder was no more than a few yards away from the ball, but couldn't get there. The over was taken for 21, the biggest of the match.
The 21 runs scored by Williamson off Unadkat was the most he's scored in an over in T20s. He had also hit 21 off Chennai Super Kings legspinner Karn Sharma earlier in the tournament. Williamson's four half-centuries are the most by a batsman this season.
What they said
"We didn't get that 10-15 more on another challenging surface but we did see an improvement. T20 is pretty fickle in nature and it is nice to get a few wins on the board. We need to adapt to conditions, not get ahead of ourselves, which have varied a lot, and that's what we aim to build on and do going forward as well."
Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo