Sunrisers Hyderabad went into the match against Delhi Daredevils on a high, having hit a fine winning streak. But, Delhi put up a fine all-round display to overcome their might on Thursday at Hyderabad. Batting first and defending totals has been one of the strengths of Hyderabad this season. But, Delhi were better than Hyderabad with both bat and ball on the day. First and foremost, they recovered from a poor start with the ball to keep Hyderabad down to a gettable total. Then, in their chase, the batsmen ensured that there were no hiccups as Sunrisers' golden unbeaten run in IPL 9 finally came to an end.
Although Delhi were good with both bat and ball, it was the effort of the bowlers that set up the game nicely in the visitors' favour. Delhi were missing skipper Zaheer Khan for the second time in the season owing to a niggle, but Chris Morris stepped up with the ball, and took additional responsibility in his absence. His variations with the ball on a tough batting surface were most impressive, and although he finished with only one wicket, his spell of 1 for 19 was instrumental in stifling Hyderabad, and killing all their batting momentum. It was the kind of effort Delhi had been hoping for from Morris all season.
The game turned in Delhi's favour in the second half of Hyderabad's batting innings. At the end of the 13th over, when Shikhar Dhawan fell, Hyderabad were reasonably placed at 98 for 2. In hindsight, Dhawan's wicket proved to be a big turning point as Hyderabad lost all the momentum from that point to finish with a low score. While Morris was the standout bowler on the day, there were crucial efforts from the rest as well. Leggie Amit Mishra troubled the batsman with his variations, and finished with excellent figures of 2 for 19, dismissing biggies like Dhawan and Yuvraj Singh. Jayant Yadav also played a crucial role, cleaning up David Warner just as he was progressing towards another big knock.
After an impressive bowling effort, Delhi timed their chase nicely too. Although Mayank Agarwal fell early, Quinton de Kock and Karun Nair put up a good second wicket partnership that helped them ease into the chase. Even after they were dismissed, Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson ensured there were no further hiccups in place for Delhi. They batted with the sort of freedom expected of highly confident individuals, and once they got their eyes in, there was precious little the famed Hyderabad bowling line up could do.
Sunrisers will not be too disappointed with the loss, for they were bound to have a bad game somewhere. What the defeat exposed was that they definitely have a weak link -- which is their middle order. While the top three in Warner, Dhawan and Kane Williamson again did well, none of them carried on. This meant, Yuvraj Singh, Moises Henriques and Deepak Hooda had a lot more to do than usual, and couldn't rise to the occasion. The seasoned bowlers had a rare off day, with Mustafizur Rahman in particular going for a few after being nearly unplayable in the tournament.
--By A Cricket Analyst