Sunrisers Hyderabad Beat 168 for 2 (Williamson 57, Abhishek 42, Pooran 34*, Pandya 1-27) Gujarat Titans 162 for 7 (Pandya 50*, Manohar 35, Natarajan 2-34, Bhuvneshwar 2-37) by eight wickets
Titans would have ended with fewer runs if not for 20 walks, ten of which were thrown over in the first by Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
SRH seamen are making an early advance
After leaking 17 runs in an unusual opening left, Bhuvneshwar tightened in his second, with Shubman catching Gill in short cover, where Tripathi made a blinding catch with one hand. B Sai Sudharshan, who impressed with 35 on debut, against Punjab Kings, made another solid start, but Natarajan broke his innings off at 11 in the sixth over when he found a sharp extra bounce.
Matthew Wade slammed to a run-ball 19 before Umran Malik rushed him for pace and held him lbw. In four innings, Wade has scored 56 runs so far with an overall strike rate of less than 100.
Pandya shot out of the blocks, with a second ball, four, at Natarajan. Malik then pinged Pandya on the grille of his helmet with a scorching hitchhiker, but Pandya immediately shook it off with four back to back, the first being a high-elbow standout ride from extra coverage. And when Pandya launched Markram over midwicket, he brought out his 100th six in the IPL. After Pandya zapped to 22 of 14 balls, he slowed down and only managed 28 of his last 28 balls. The variations of Natarajan and the accuracy of Washington Sundar, who notably threw only three overs, knocked out Pandya.
Abhinav rides his luck
Once he entered, Abhinav Manohar threw his bat at the ball and slashed a couple of fours from Malik – both from the perimeter. He was then top shelf for four Bhuvneshwar and similarly tricked Natarajan to far away where Markram dropped a nanny. Abhinav was at 21 at the time; he got two more lives at 32 and 33 before Tripathi finally caught one in the outfield, near Bhuvneshwar.
Hi, again, Yorker King
A recurrence of a knee injury and Covid-19 ruined Natarajan’s stint in IPL 2021, but this season he has already shown enough signs that he is back at his best. He tucked in hard-length David Miller and even surprised him with a bouncer. Later in death, he ripped his signature Yorkers, and relented only seven runs on the last left of the innings. Fittingly, he ended the Titans innings with a yorker dropping Rashid Khan for a duck.
No one has bowled more yorkers this season than Natarajan’s 15. And no one has more wickets at death than Natarajan’s five.
SRH goes slow
Sunrisers had a slow start to their chase, taking 11 from the first four overs. Williamson could have been sacked in the first overturn if Pandya had watched the lbw scream that was deemed not out on the field. Williamson and Abhishek then flipped the intent switch, hitting 31 of the last two overs of the power play.
Abhishek used Ferguson’s pace and bounce to his advantage by knocking him out for four fours in his first over that cost Titans 17 runs.
When Ferguson returned to the attack for the 11th left, Abishek had fallen for Rashid and Williamson was stuck again.
Williamson, Pooran do the work for SRH
After playing 46 off 41 balls, Williamson found the liberation when he leaped across and Ferguson stylishly scooped the short, fine leg for six. He cracked the next legal delivery from Ferguson for four to celebrate his fiftieth in style. Sunrisers then went into hiccups when Williamson fluttered an offcutter from Pandya to long-on, but Pooran declined to seal the deal.
After dropping a tough catch to give him a reprieve at 11, Ferguson gave two sixes and two fours to make sure Sunrisers didn’t miss Tripathi. However, sunrises may be concerned about the fitness of Washington, who had his right hand strapped into the dugout.
Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo