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David Warner, Rashid Khan give Lions a thrashing

Sunrisers Hyderabad dominated all aspects of a T20 game – batting, bowling, fielding and winning a toss – to consign Gujarat Lions to their second rout of the season.

Moises Henriques of the Sunrisers Hyderabad during match 6 of the Vivo 2017 Indian Premier League between the Sunrisers Hyderabad and the Gujarat Lions held at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad, India on the 9th April 2017
Photo by Ron Gaunt – IPL – Sportzpics

Sunrisers cruised to their second comfortable victory, with nine wickets in hand and 27 balls to spare.

Lions stuck to the same combination as the first game – four overseas batsmen and five Indian bowlers – and lacked balance and penetration again. With the bat, they could muster just 135, their second-lowest first-innings total. With the ball, they’ve taken just one wicket in two games.

Sunrisers, on the other hand, were outstanding in planning and execution. Rashid Khan flummoxed the Lions batsmen with his variations to become the highest wicket-taker of this season’s IPL. Then chasing 136, Moises Henriques struck his second fifty of the season, and David Warner made an unbeaten 45-ball 76, going past 1000 IPL runs at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium and 7000 runs in T20 cricket.

The IPL’s most significant trend

Sunrisers captain Warner was clear at the toss. He knew the surface would be slower in the afternoon and his spinners would be useful against Lions’ four overseas stars. After putting Lions in to bat – the fifth time in six games a team has chosen to chase this season – Warner started with left-arm spinner Bipul Sharma. The pitch played pretty much as expected: slow, low, and timing spinners wasn’t easy. Sunrisers’ spinners – Rashid and Bipul – returned combined figures of 8-0-43-3 leaving the Lions to play catch-up thereafter.

Legspin winning T20s

Picking Rashid’s variations from his stock ball has been one of the harder tasks in Associate cricket. That is why he is regularly employed towards the end overs in T20Is for Afghanistan. In just two games, Rashid has shown discerning legspin isn’t simple for the elite either.

Batsmen often look for a cross-batted option against spin they aren’t able to read. That seemed the case when Brendon McCullum chose to sweep in Rashid’s first over. He missed the googly and was struck in front of the wicket. Aaron Finch and Suresh Raina were deceived too: Finch by a googly and Raina by a regulation legbreak. Both batsmen missed the ball by a considerable distance, an indicator that they failed to pick Rashid. It was the first time a bowler took three lbws in an IPL game.

Two of the best legspinners in the world currently, Rashid and Imran Tahir, both attack the stumps – a legbreak to a left-hander and a googly to a right-hander – to new batsmen. It has worked, and not just in the IPL.

Not timing a T20 chase

 Sometimes, a higher total to chase frees up a batting team. Pacing an innings while chasing a relatively small total can also be fraught with danger because of the unpredictability of the end overs. Warner, however, didn’t change his normal approach to Sunrisers’ 136 target.

With two left-handers opening for Sunrisers, Suresh Raina bowled the first over. He had bowled only 30 balls in the Powerplay and conceded 32 runs prior to this game. His first delivery was flat and straight, skidding on with the arm. Warner gave himself room and cut to point off middle stump. While that was a risky stroke, it showed Raina his best delivery could be taken for runs.

That risk paid off in the next over, when Raina was forced to change his length. Warner used his feet against Raina’s flight to hit a straight six, and then used the depth of the crease to pull for six off a shorter delivery. He had raced away to 32 off 17 balls in the Powerplay, and Sunrisers were 59 for 1. By then, the game was effectively won.

#IPL Match 6 #SRHvsGL VVS Laxman & Rashid Khan click an #IPLselfie post-match #Vivoipl #IPL2017

Posted by Sportshour 24/7 Highlights on Sunday, April 9, 2017

Credit:@PA Sports