Piece of brilliance on field lifts the side: Karun Nair
Sunrisers Hyderabad would have felt utterly let down by their fielding against Delhi Daredevils - a side that managed to beat them twice in the ninth edition of the Indian Premier League. They put down two absolute sitters, one of Karun Nair, which cost them in the end as they were handed a six-wicket defeaton Friday(May 20).
That said, Sunrisers did well to stretch the game until the last ball, but it wasn't enough to contain Nair, who had been given a life when on 23 by the umpire, and by Warner on 51.
"The bowling unit has been fantastic; today's a testament of that as they kept us in the game throughout," said Eoin Morgan after the loss. "Yes, we had our chances that could've taken the game to Delhi, certainly with the dropped catches, but there are tough lessons learnt."
After losing Shikhar Dhawan and Deepak Hooda in successive overs despite a fair start, Sunrisers' innings went wayward for a bit. The credit of which should go to Carlos Brathwaite, who triggered the shift in momentum by executing an incredible run out - one that lifted the spirit of the Daredevils to turn the match around. Brathwaite, dived to pouch the ball that was hit straight to him by Shikhar Dhawan with the batsman halfway down for a run. He picked it up and flung it at the stumps with the batsman well short - that at a stage when Sunrisers were settling into the opening stand that had fetched 46. Deepak Hooda's run out in the next over then brought Daredevils right back into the game.
"Piece of brilliance on the field always lifts the side," said a content Nair after the game. "When we are fielding, 11 guys are fielding, so I think the only time you can lift all of them together is only by exceptional fielding."
Nair and Rishabh Pant had Daredevils on track to scale the target of 159 with a 73-run stand for the second wicket after losing Quinton de Kock in the second over. The duo paced their innings well, especially Nair, who started off watchfully, but stuck to the basics rather well.
"I think it was a really good pitch to bat on. That's how I bat at the start. I want to play normal cricket shots and hit the gaps. I was lucky that everything I hit went in the gaps," said Nair. When asked as to what the conversations between him and Pant comprised of, Nair said rather bluntly, "I was just telling him to play his natural game. I knew that if the ball is there to be hit he will hit it. I was just telling him to play positively and run hard between the wickets. He played really well as well. It was unfortunate that he got out at that stage."
Pant was run out by a brilliant throw that came in from the deep from Bhuvneshwar Kumar, for 32 off 26 in the 12thover. However, Nair carried on undeterred to remain unbeaten on 83 off 59 with eight fours and three sixes. "It's one of the best knocks I have played," acknowledged Nair who scored his highest IPL score. "I was able to pull the team through and stay till the end, and remain unbeaten in a pressure situation, in a must win game. I am really happy with what I was able to contribute."
Sunrisers, on the day, not just missed the services of Ashish Nehra, who was ruled out of the rest of the tournament with a hamstring injury, but also David Warner. Their regular captain stayed off the field for the first nine overs of the second innings after having batted for 15.2 overs. Morgan filled in and skippered the side for 14 overs despite Warner returning after the ninth.
"I'm not exactly sure what was wrong but he was light-headed," said Morgan of Warner. "It was hot out there and he did a lot of running. On a big field like that you do a lot of running, so you exert yourself a lot. It might have been dizziness."
Barring Warner's 73 off 56, no other batsman crossed the 20-run mark, which prompted Morgan being asked about the lack of power-hitting in the Sunrisers ranks. "We have power-hitters, but at the moment they're not doing as well as we like and I'm one of them. We have plenty of power-hitting in the middle if you look at it; we have (Moises) Henriques, Yuvi (Yuvraj Singh), myself. We can't say we don't, it's just that we're not performing," conceded Morgan.