New Delhi: T20 cricket is undoubtedly dominated by the batsmen. But for the Sunrisers Hyderabad, the bowlers are turning out to be the real heroes.
On Friday night, the Sunrisers bowlers once again did an excellent job to restrict the Delhi DareDevils to just 114 for eight. That went a long way in helping them eke out a three-wicket win in 19.2 overs and thus disappoint the near-capacity crowd at the Kotla.
While the home team suffered their fourth straight defeat, the Hyderabad outfit had their third win in four games.
The match was won and lost in the first session itself. After DareDevils captain Mahela Jayawardene won the toss and decided to bat, the rampaging Sunrisers bowlers never allowed the Delhi batsmen to prosper.
The match, however, turned interesting after the DareDevils bowlers hit back in their effort to defend the paltry total. They were able to create some panic in the Sunrisers' camp by reducing the visitors to 71 for five in the 15th over. By that time, Kumar Sangakkara (28), Parthiv Patel (17) and Cameron White (4) were all back in the pavilion.
The way Morne Morkel, Shahbaz Nadeem and Johan Botha were bowling during that period, Delhi looked perfectly capable of registering their first victory.
But to be honest, Steyn and Ishant Sharma had won the match for Sunrisers much before the winning runs were scored. The South African dealt the first telling blow by sending back opener David Warner (0) in the fourth ball of the first over. Ishant broke the DareDevils' backbone in the fifth over by removing Jayawardene (12) and Virender Sehwag (12) in successive balls.
While Steyn (two for 11) was the pick of the lot, not far behind were Ishant (two for 35), Sri Lankan medium pacer Thisara Perera (two for 31), Anand Rajan and Amit Mishra. Rajan and Mishra conceded only 20 and 15 runs, respectively.
But then, the DareDevils should also take the blame for irresponsible batting. The inclusion of Sehwag could hardly change their plummeting fortunes in the competition. Out of the team in the first three matches because of a back spasm, Sehwag replaced Unmukt Chand, but could contribute little.
Gone are the days when the opener was the backbone of the DareDevils' batting. He opened his scoring with a boundary, but it was not one of his best strokes. The ball took the edge of the bat before travelling wide of the slip. However, his next four off Thisara Perera was a powerful cut that had the stamp of class written on it.
Sehwag departed in the fifth over. After conceding 12 runs in his first over from the Old Clubhouse End, Ishant returned from the Delhi Gate End to dismiss skipper Jayawardene and Sehwag off successive deliveries.
The Sri Lankan played a poor shot to be caught at mid on, while Sehwag was undone by a fine tumbling catch from White at second slip.
Thereafter, no DareDevils batsman could manage to fight back, though wicketkeeper batsman Kedar Jadhav (30) and Irfan Pathan (23) did their best to revive the innings.
Jadhav, who replaced Naman Ojha in the last game, scored his runs in 20 deliveries with the help of one four and two sixes.