Seldom does a team have a perfect outing in a T20 match. It is also rare for a team to falter in every department of the game. When both the facets combine, you end up witnessing a one-sided affair all along, as was seen at the Maharashtra Cricket Association’s International Stadium on Monday night.
Rajasthan Royals couldn’t have asked for a better start to its Indian Premier League campaign than a clinical performance in all departments against Sunrisers Hyderabad. The Hyderabad-based franchise, on the other hand, appeared to be as disgruntled as its management team on the auction table last month.
As a result, the Royals – with seven first-timers in the pink jersey – opened its IPL account with a 61-run win. The comprehensive win came as the icing on the cake for captain Sanju Samson, who marked his 100th appearance for Royals (including Champions League T20) with a ferocious fifty.
With each of its top six batters playing their roles to precision, Royals piled on a gargantuan total of 210 for six after being asked to bat by Kane Williamson. Arguably the best bowling combination of the tournament then demolished a clueless Sunrisers batting line-up to seal the fate of the match at the halfway mark into the chase that never got off.
Trent Boult and Prasidh Krishna – who shared the spoils all through the PowerPlay – took the fizz out of the Sunrisers chase by leaving them in tatters at 14/3 after six overs. Both the pacers bowled a maiden each, with Prasidh accounting for Williamson in the second over.
Prasidh then got rid of his former Knight Riders teammate Rahul Tripathi with a perfect ball that rose after pitching in the channel. When Boult found Nicholas Pooran plumb in front of the wickets, the writing was on the wall.
R. Ashwin and Yuzendra Chahal then further pegged the Sunrisers back by striking consistently as the Hyderabad team could only manage 149 for seven. Aiden Markram and Washington Sundar’s 55-run stand for the seventh wicket brought the margin of defeat to double digits.
Earlier in the night, Jos Buttler – fortunate to have been caught off a no-ball in the first over – and Yashasvi Jaiswal made optimum use of the PowerPlay, with Buttler going berserk against fast bowler Umran Malik after three quiet overs.
Samson and Padikkal then added 73 runs in less than seven overs to let Shimron Hetmyer end the essay with a bang. Before he was caught in the deep off Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Samson was brutal on offie Washington, scoring 26 runs off nine balls.