IPL 2017: From Shikhar Dhawan's slow start to middle order woes, the biggest talking points from SRH's loss
After Sunrisers Hyderabad lost yet again to Kolkata Knight Riders in a league match of the IPL, here's a look at what factors led to the defeat:
The Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) lost both their league matches to the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in 2016 but won the match they had to, the Eliminator, on way to their maiden IPL trophy. SRH were 0-4 at the Eden Gardens before 2017 and after another dispiriting loss at the hands of Gautam Gambhir-led side, SRH captain David Warner admitted he has “no clue” as to why his side can't seem to put one across to their hosts in their own turf in Kolkata. Here are the talking points from the game that eventually amounted to nothing for the Sunrisers.
KKR resorted to getting Sunil Narine to partner Gambhir yet again to stretch their batting order in an effort to mask the loss of Andre Russell for the season. However, the left-handed batsman from Trinidad was limited by SRH bowlers and was eventually cleaned up by Bhuvneshwar Kumar. He had taken only one wicket in 20 powerplay overs vs KKR before this game and should have had a third the ball after dismissing Narine but the umpire missed the edge from Robin Uthappa's bat. The man from Karnataka would go on to score 68 runs at an impressive rate nearing 175 that set the game up for KKR.
IPL rules save Uthappa
In international play, when an on-field umpire refers a decision to third umpire on a catch, the TV umpire only adjudicates on the cleanliness of the catch. In IPL's revised playing conditions (Appendix 6, Para 3.1(c)), the TV umpire could step back a bit more and adjudicate on whether the bat/glove made contact with the ball as well. The third umpire decided that even though the catch taken by wicketkeeper Naman Ojha was clean, there was no evidence of bat on ball, and hence advised the on-field umpire to overturn his initial soft signal of out, and so Uthappa, on 52, continued on. He celebrated the reprieve by pasting the unlucky bowler Ashish Nehra to back-to-back boundaries.
Bowling lets SRH down
While Bhuvi and Rashid Khan were their usual spectacular selves, and Nehra was unlucky but still decent, the other three bowlers backing them leaked a mountain of runs that eventually proved to be 17 runs too far for SRH. Ben Cutting, the returning Moises Henriques and Bipul Sharma were taken for 87 runs in their combined eight overs, of which only 11 deliveries were dots. Quite striking considering these three bowlers also gave away 10 balls that found the boundary (four or six). In comparison, Bhuvi, Rashid and Nehra delivered 30 dots and 10 boundary strikes in their combined 12 overs.
Slow start for SRH
SRH were once again hampered by a slow-starting Shikhar Dhawan. Only this time, the cagey bowlers of KKR reined in Warner as well. In a steep chase of 173 runs, SRH openers managed only 10 runs off the first two overs, that included a life for Dhawan. The early push to achieve the tall target did not come. Warner and Dhawan struck five boundaries off Umesh Yadav and Trent Boult in the next two overs but SRH were behind already. With only 32 runs off the four overs delivered by pacers which still was behind the asking rate, SRH dug themselves in to a hole. Warner was eventually out for a rare less-than-run-a-ball knock, and Dhawan barely made it above the strike rate of 100.
Choked by spin
As the SRH openers got going against the pacers, Gambhir quickly turned to his spin trump cards Narine and Kuldeep Yadav. The move immediately paid dividends as it put the brakes on scoring. The remaining two overs of powerplay brought SRH 13 more runs and were further set back. Gambhir shrewdly introduced Yusuf Pathan in the seventh over, considering the two left handers at the crease, and Dhawan was dismissed trying to loft over long off. Kuldeep and Narine were taken for just 41 runs in their eight overs combined, while taking two wickets, and delivering 22 dot balls. Kuldeep should have had Warner stumped in the eighth over but eventually had his revenge in the tenth as Warner could only find Chris Woakes in an attempt to push the floundering scoring rate. For the KKR fans pointing to umpiring error that reprieved Uthappa: Warner had his chance too, as did Dhawan, but neither capitalised on it.
Middle order woes continue
Requiring 114 in 10 overs with eight wickets in hand, the onus was on the SRH middle order to record their first win in Eden Gardens, but it wasn't to be. While Henriques, Yuvraj and Deepak Hooda combined for an impressive strike rate of 157 (52 off 33), SRH needed one of the three to bat through the rest of the innings. Every time one of these looked set and good to carry on, they perished: Henriques in the 11th, Hooda in the 14th and Yuvraj in the 15th. With the fall of Yuvraj, whose 26 was joint-highest score of the innings (along with Warner), SRH's challenge was done and dusted. Bipul Sharma's late hits cut the margin of defeat to a respectable one, the poor returns from the middle order again reiterated the point, by and large, SRH are a one-man batting unit.
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SRH restart their IPL 2021 campaign against Delhi Capitals on 22 September, but before that let's take a look at how they fared in the first seven games of the season.