IPL 2017, SRH vs GL: SK Turning Point, Rashid Khan's sensational spell
Sunrisers made light work of Gujarat Lions courtesy a superb spell from Rashid Khan.
The in-form IPL side, Sunrisers Hyderabad, clashed against Gujarat Lions at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad and the home side crushed the visitors courtesy some fine contributions from their talented group of players.
Sunrisers won the toss and opted to bowl first, a decision that might have spurred from their own strong bowling attack and the opposition's weak attack. Lions, boasting of a dynamic top order, started with Jason Roy looking in ravishing touch. He and McCullum helped them to a good start with a 35 run stand in 4 overs.
The Kiwi, however, did not possess the fluidity that was the trademark of his knock two days back.
The Turning Point
At this point, David Warner brought in his trump card, Rashid Khan. The Rs 4 crore Afghanistan youngster struck in his very first over. He had the dangerous Brendon McCullum plumb in front with a well disguised googly. McCullum tried to sweep Rashid but the ball came quickly and turned the wrong way, striking him flush on his pads.
In his very next over, Rashid proceeded to bamboozle Aaron Finch with another wrong 'un. Finch played for a straight ball only to the see the ball spin back in and hitting him in the pads. The umpire was quick to uphold Rashid's appeal and the complexion of the game had changed in two overs.
Bhuvaneshwar Kumar had dismissed Roy in between Rashid's twin strikes and three wickets in three overs meant that Gujarat Lions had slipped from 35/0 to 42/3. They had lost three of their four foreign batsmen in three overs.
Rashid wasn't done though and returned to bowl a third over on the trot. After two skidders and three flighted deliveries, the stage was set for the wrong 'un on the last ball of the over. Raina on strike anticipated as much but the young leggie was smarter and delivered a well-flighted leg-spinner that turned into Raina and had him LBW.
Sunrisers were now well and truly on top with the visitors at 57/4. Rashid's spell after the over read 3-0-12-3.
How the game progressed
Lions recovered from the slump a bit with Dwyane Smith and Dinesh Karthik putting on a 56 run partnership to resurrect a broken start. Once Bhuvaneshwar broke through Dwyane Smith and Nehra had Karthik in the next over, the innings lost its way completely. With just 135 on the board, Gujarat never looked in the game.
They had barely altered their bowling attack and it came as a cropper yet again with David Warner in one of his belligerent moods. The Australian opener was bullish and led from the front with Moises Henriques providing him much needed support after Dhawan's wicket early.
Warner remained unbeaten on 76 of just 45 balls with four maximums while Henriques compiled his second half-century of the tournament to follow up his fifty against RCB few days back.
The target was scaled in just 15.3 overs with zero pressure on the Sunrisers batsmen after the sensational spell from the Afghan bowler.
"I think because we haven't played him much. We have watched his videos but he mixes up his leggies and wrong 'un well", Raina replied, when asked about why Rashid Khan was tough to play, after the match while speaking to the media.
"I backed him in the first six. He wanted the ball in the powerplay and delivered the goods. He is a superstar in the making. I hope he continues his firm for us", Warner commented at the post-match presentation ceremony.
The Afghan superstar also spoke about his performance in the post-match ceremony. "It is a positive message for Afghanistan - playing in such a league and performing well. I am happy to be part of Sunrisers team", Rashid said.
"The coach and skipper discussed with me about bowling in the powerplay. I was ready to bowl anytime and I'm the powerplay I concentrated on bowling wicket to wicket. I thought it would be tough for them to read my googlies and so I tried them", the leg-spinner continued.