Wooden spooners Team Hyderabad registered a much needed win against Team Rajasthan on September 27 at the Dubai International Stadium. Batting first, the Sanju Samson-led side posted 164 in 20 overs on the back of their captain’s 57-ball 82. In reply, half centuries by debutant Jason Roy and captain Kane Williamson helped Hyderabad gun down the target in only 18.3 overs. This is only the second win for Hyderabad in 10 games this season; they are still languishing at the bottom of the table with just four points. While the Orange Army is nearly out of contention for the playoffs, Team Rajasthan now need to win all their remaining four games to make it to the knockouts. Let’s look at the big talking points from the game.
A debut to remember for Jason Roy
England opener Jason Roy’s sensational innings set the foundation for Hyderabad’s big win against Rajasthan. Playing his first game for the franchise, Roy, who was covering up for David Warner, scored a 42-ball 60 during which he stitched an opening partnership of 57 runs with Wriddhiman Saha. Roy’s innings was laced with 8 fours and 1 six. With that kind of performance, Roy is likely to be retained in the XI for the next game, while Warner, who has been out of form since the start of the tournament in India, might continue to warm the bench. In the UAE leg, Warner scored 0 and 2 in the first two games, which took his tally to 195 runs in eight innings this year at a sub-par strike rate of 107.73 and average of 24.37.
The reliable Kane Williamson
Kane Williamson has not always been a permanent member of Hyderabad’s playing XI, but every time the management has banked upon the Kiwi, he has delivered. Against Rajasthan on Monday, Williamson scored a 41-ball 51 to ensure that Hyderabad wrapped up the chase as quickly as possible. He reached his fifty with two back to back boundaries, and also finished the run-chase with a boundary. This is the 17th half-century of Williamson’s Indian T20 League career.
Rajasthan’s loss of momentum
While they started the innings in style, Rajasthan lost their way in the last few overs. They could not find a single boundary in the last 17 balls of their innings. The final over was even worse, as they managed only two runs off it and also lost two wickets. Until the 12th over, the side looked good for a score near 180 runs, but Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Siddharth Kaul’s impressive spell in the death overs halted Rajasthan’s progress. Kumar gave away only seven runs in the 17th and 19th over, which will be a much-needed confidence booster for him after what has been a season to forget.
Sanju Samson’s batting masterclass and new records
The Rajasthan captain led from the front, hitting 82 runs off 57 balls at a strike rate of 143.85. With that knock, Samson is now the leading run-getter in the tournament with 433 runs in 10 innings at an average of 54.12 and strike rate of 141.96. He also reached 3000 Indian T20 League runs during his knock, and became the first Rajasthan batter to achieve the milestone.
Four in four needed for Rajasthan
With 40 of the 56 league games done and dusted, each match from here on is very important for the teams that are not currently on the first and second points on the table – Delhi and Chennai. As of September 27, Kolkata, Punjab and Rajasthan have eight points each, but Rajasthan is ranked lowest among the three teams due to their net run rate of -0.369. They have four more games to go, and would practically need to win all of those to make it to the playoffs, if they do not want to depend on the results of other teams.
The controversy surrounding David Warner
Warner, who was dropped from the XI, did not travel to the Dubai International Stadium with the team on Monday and stayed back at the hotel. This led to several reports of a rift between the Australian batter and the Hyderabad team management. However, head coach Trevor Bayliss denied rumours of any misunderstandings between Warner and the management. According to Bayliss, a lot of younger players in the team had not got a chance to travel to the ground (probably due to the limited seats in the dugout), which is why Warner decided to stay back and let the younger lot get some experience. The internet, however, is not convinced with Bayliss’ reason.