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The Sunrisers Hyderabad rode on a blazing start from openers Shikhar Dhawan and Parthiv Patel to chase down a stiff target of 169 against Sri Lanka’s Kandurata Maroons in the second qualifier of the 2013 Champions League. Earlier in the day, the Otago Volts from New Zealand had beaten the Faisalabad Wolves from Pakistan.
The PCA Stadium at Mohali has favoured teams chasing in T20 games in the evening, with eight of the last 11 games being won that way. The Maroons were led by fifties from captain Lahiru Thirimanne and senior player Kumar Sangakkara, but it didn’t prove enough.
STEYN’S RUSTY RETURN
The Sunrisers spearhead Dale Steyn is playing his first game since he’d left the Champions Trophy midway, admittedly with five injuries: side strain, groin, glute, neck and ankle. He made a rusty start conceding 15 off the first over. Upul Tharanga cashed in on two wayward balls on his pads, sending them for fours before picking up four leg byes through the same region. That was followed by Tharanga crunching Steyn for two more fours through the cover in the next over.
Sangakkara and Thirimanne, both of whom scored fifties today, took a special liking for their Sri Lanka team-mate Thisara Perera’s bowling. Thirimanne welcomed Perera with an audacious forehand over long-off for six. Afterwards Sangakkara and Dilhara Lokuhettige took 16 off his third over, after which Lokuhettige hit him for another six over long-on.
In response, Sunrisers had raced away to 44-0 in five overs and the Maroons needed a game-changing over. In came Ajantha Mendis, the only bowler with two six-wicket hauls in T20 cricket. Dhawan took a shine to Mendis right away. He took three consecutive fours off Mendis’ first over: a short ball pulled, a tossed-up ball driven past mid-off, and a faster ball swept to deep square-leg. Just to confound Mendis even more, Dhawan reverse-swept him for another four soon.
Hyderabad’s start swelled to 118 in 13 overs, the first century opening stand the team has had. It was then than a Maroons fielder put Dhawan down at long-off. The left-handed batsman is in prime form, striking everything off the middle of his bat. Dhawan was missed again in the next over when Sangakkara put down a tough one low to his left. In between the two misses, Parthiv was caught in the deep. But it was all too late for the Maroons.