DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Wriddhiman Saha made a scintillating half century in only his second appearance in this season’s Indian Premier League as Sunrisers Hyderabad kept their playoffs hopes alive with an 88-run win over Delhi Capitals on Tuesday.
Saha, who replaced Jonny Bairstow as an opener, struck 87 off 45 balls and captain David Warner celebrated his 34th birthday with a rapid 66 off 34 balls in Hyderabad’s strong total of 219-2. It was the highest total at Dubai's Sheikh Zayed Stadium in this year's IPL.
Legspinner Rashid Khan closed out the game with breathtaking figures of 4-0-7-3 as Delhi was bowled out for 131 with an over to spare after captain Shreyas Iyer had won the toss and opted to field.
“I got the opportunity for the second time this year and I took chances in the powerplay for the team,” Saha said. “It’s easy to play when there’s Warner at the other end.”
The race to playoffs is still wide open with Hyderabad taking their points tally to 10 with two more league games still in their hands.
With their third successive defeat, Delhi has slipped to No. 3 on net run-rate behind Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore. All three teams have 14 points.
“Definitely a big loss, but you can’t get bogged down at this point of time, we still have two games,” Iyer said. “One win is all we need, we’ve been waiting for that since the last three games.”
Saha hadn’t got a game since playing against Kolkata Knight Riders at Abu Dhabi a month ago. He grabbed his second opportunity this season with both hands after Bairstow’s slump in form gave him a chance to open the innings.
Warner dominated an electrifying opening stand of 107 runs off 58 balls by hitting eight fours and two sixes.
Tournament-leading wicket-taker Kagiso Rabada (0-54) had an off-day when Warner hammered 4-4-0-6-4-4 in South African fast bowler’s first over. It was for the first time this season that Rabada, who has taken 23 wickets, returned wicketless and conceded seven boundaries and two sixes in his four overs.
Warner sliced a catch off Ravichandran Ashwin’s slow turning delivery in the 10th over, but Saha continued to tear Delhi’s bowling apart with some delightful pull shots, sweeps and drives.
Saha hit a dozen fours and two sixes before he holed out at long-off to give Anrich Nortje (1-37) his first wicket. Although Delhi conceded only 44 runs in the last five overs, but Saha and Warner had done enough damage upfront as Manish Pandey scored unbeaten 44 off 31 balls to give Hyderabad a huge total.
Delhi ran into early trouble when Warner took two smart catches to dismiss Shikhar Dhawan for zero and Marcus Stoinis could make only 5.
Khan then baffled Delhi's top order batsmen with his sharp leg-breaks and googlies and bowled 17 dot balls.
Khan had Shimron Hetmyer clean bowled off his first delivery and then had Ajinkya Rahane (26) lbw as Delhi slumped to 55-4 in the seventh over.
Left-hander Rishabh Pant top-scored with 36 before Sharma removed him in his return spell to finish with 2-27 as Delhi were bowled out for the first time this season.
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