IPL: Warner takes SRH to final in a thriller

May 28 2016 11:18AM

Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper David Warner was not a happy man during his team's second strategic time-out. SRH needed 46 off 25 balls with four wickets in hand after Naman Ojha was caught in the deep for 10. Warner, batting on 74 off 48 at that point, had all the reason to be annoyed as in chase of 163 his batsmen had let him down - not for the first time in the tournament. In SRH's nine victories before this game, Warner had been the only batsman to make a telling impact with five fifties and a score of 48.

On Friday against Gujarat Lions in Qualifier two, the Australian was SRH's 'Man Friday' waging a lone battle against an inspired Gujarat bowling attack. Much similar to the Royal Challengers Bangalore's predicament against Gujarat in Qualifier 1, Warner needed an Iqbal Abdulla at the other end to see his team home, and Bipul Sharma proved to be SRH's Abdulla scoring a crucial cameo off 27 off 11 balls and Warner, most fittingly, hit the winning runs to remain unbeaten on 93 off 58 balls and take his team to their maiden final.

Bipul joined Warner in the middle after Ojha's dismissal and eased the pressure off his captain with a six of Praveen Kumar in the 17th over. A flick off Dhawal Kulkarni in the 18th over earned Bipul his second six towards backward of square. Equation became 24 off two overs, and the all-important 19th over bowled by Dwayne Bravowas taken for 19 runs. Warner took two fours off it, before Bipul connected the full delivery well for the third time. The final over was just a mere formality.

With this superb knock, Warner became only the fourth batsman to aggregate 700 plus runs in a single IPL season. There has been many memorable knocks in this IPL and some audacious ones too, but, Warner's innings today was one of the finest captain's knock one could ever witness.

Warner lost his opening partner Shikhar Dhawan for a duck in the second over courtesy Brendon McCullum's direct hit. None of the recognised batsmen were able to hang in there with the skipper for a long period. Apart from Moises Henriques (11), none of the top-order and the middle-order batsman reached the double-figure mark. Left-arm spinner Shivil Kauhsik, drafted in place of Shahdab Jakati, did well to contain Warner and Co. in the middle overs with a spell of 4-0-22-2 and managed to take the big wicket of Yuvraj Singh (8). Deepak Hooda was undone by a slower yorker from Bravo, while Ojha perished playing to the galleries. All this while, Warner soaked in the pressure and on a tricky Delhi track, rotated the strike well and did not miss out on punishing the loose deliveries to reach his eighth fifty this season. He only wanted support from the other end, which he only got from Bipul late in the day.

Earlier, Aaron Finch , coming in to bat at number five, smashed his fifth fifty of the tournament to help Gujarat post a healthy 162 for seven. Hyderabad were dealt with a major blow when their strike bowler and the tournament's best death bowler Mustafizur Rahman was forced to sit out of the important match owing to a hamstring niggle. Trent Boult, drafted in place of Mustafizur and playing his first game of the season, made immediate impact claiming the Eklavya Dwivedi's catch in the first over of the match and then trapped Suresh Raina in front in the fourth over. Boult went on to play his part in Gujarat's third wicket as well, when his throw to wicketkeeper Ojha found Dinesh Karthik (26) short of his crease.

Gujarat were in a rut at 63 for three after nine overs. In walked Finch and up went Gujarat's stocks. After playing his first five balls for two runs, the Australian hammered a length ball from Barinder Sran for a four towards square and off the next ball, lofted a fullish delivery for a monstrous 103 meter six. On 14, Finch was given a reprieve when Sran grassed a dolly at short fine in the 12 over. However, Bipul snared McCullum in the same over, but Finch ensured to build on the chance.

Finch departed immediately after reaching his fifty of 32 balls, playing a full toss on to his stumps, but a late-order assault by Jadeja (19 off 15 balls) and Bravo (20 off 10 balls) took Gujarat past the 150-run mark. The last five overs saw Gujarat take 53 runs.

Brief Scores: Sunrisers Hyderabad 163/6 (Warner 93*, Bipul 27*; Kauhsik 2/22) beat Gujarat Lions 162/7 (Finch 50, McCullum 32; Cutting 2/20) by 4 wickets


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