Whatever Rajat Bhatia and Shane Watson can do, Dale Steyn and Bhuvneshwar Kumar can do better. This is exactly what happened on Thursday evening. The results? Sunrisers Hyderabad defended a modest 134 with aplomb. In fact, so comprehensive was their 32-run win over Rajasthan Royals that it beggared belief.
Not many would have given Shikhar Dhawan & Co a chance of beating Rajasthan, especially after they had squandered a wonderful start of 28/0 after three overs. A three-wicket haul from the effective and miserly Bhatia and almost-forgotten hat-trick from Watson — achieved over 13 overs — meant the hosts didn’t have to chase many.
But Hyderabad responded in brilliant fashion. Kumar got Ajinkya Rahane to play a loose shot in the first over. The promising duo of Karun Nair and Sanju Samson did evoke awe for a brief period, but neither carried on. Watson scratched around for 10 deliveries before nicking one to the wicketkeeper. And when Stuart Binny fell to a sensational throw from David Warner, the contest was as good as over.
Steyn got his second wicket of the evening — that of Steve Smith — thanks to a well-judged catch from Irfan Pathan. The Aussie scored a laborious 22 off 33 deliveries, without a boundary. The remainder of the match may be dedicated to Kumar. Bowling the 18th over, he claimed the wickets of James Faulkner and Rajat Bhatia off successive deliveries before sending back Kane Richardson off the last.
Rajasthan barely managed to cross the 100-run mark before Pathan hit the final nail in the coffin by dismissing Pravin Tambe.