The fourth match of the Indian Premier League 2014 saw the battle of two of the most well balanced teams in the tournament – Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad – with the earlier winning just by the scruff of the neck. The second match of the double-header day at April 18, 2014 in the Sheikh Zayed Stadium of Abu Dhabi was a nail-biter in the truest sense of the term with the match seesawing every now and then and its fortune being decided in the last over.
Team composition: The winners of the game, Royals, went in with plenty of allrounders in the team. Its overseas players were skipper Shane Watson, Brad Hodge, James Faulkner and Kane Richardson. Sunrisers chose Aaron Finch, David Warner, Darren Sammy and Dale Steyn for its overseas spots.
Batting: Hyderabad was put in after losing the toss by Rajasthan and were unable to get going, something that is reflected in the below par total of 133. None of the batsmen were able to garner any momentum with Dhawan and Warner eking out a couple of painstaking 30s that hardly helped the team’s cause!
Rajasthan’s chase was well anchored by Rahane with a typically classy 59 from 53 balls and the allrounder Binny finished it well with a 48 from 32 deliveries when things were starting to get tense for the double Rs with the consecutive loss of wickets.
Bowling: Rajat Bhatia was the best bowler for Rajasthan with a typically controlled spell of 2 for 22. He was well supported by quickies Dhawal Kulkarni (2 for 23) and Kane Richardson (2 for 25). Even Pravin Tambe did a magnificent job of keeping one end tight while Faulkner had an off day of sorts.
For Hyderabad, Steyn (2 for 29) and Mishra (2 for 26) were the standout bowlers. Ishant Sharma (1 for 29) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1 for 21 from 3.3 overs) tried hard as well but were unable to make much of a headway.
Where do the teams go from here?
Rajasthan Royals may have won the game but it was mighty surprising to see Shane Watson refraining from having a bowl. He is the best allrounder in the team and to see him shy away and then fail to contribute with the bat was not a pleasing sight for the fans. He needs to think what his role in the team is and be more proactive – he should bat high up the order and bowl his 4 overs because that is what the team would expect of him. IPL, in spite of being a domestic tournament does not offer any player the opportunity to relax and take it easy – perhaps this needs to be understood and things should not be taken for granted anymore. The team may have escaped in the first match but things could very well get tight in the later stages.
Sunrisers Hyderabad would be the first to acknowledge that their batting needs to be better so that the bowlers have more runs to play with. It is for this reason that they should drop Lokesh Rahul and Darren Sammy and bring in Brendan Taylor and Irfan Pathan. Also Naman Ojha, a hard hitting batsman, needs to be in the team instead of Venugopal Rao who seems to be past his prime. With Ojha and Taylor, the batting will have a more dynamic look and with Pathan, Dhawan will have a suitable replacement for Sammy.