On a Chennai pitch where run-scoring was difficult except in the early stages, it was the international class of Kane Williamson, Steve Smith and Rishabh Pant that dragged SRH and DC to respectable totals after the likes of Prithvi Shaw and Jonny Bairstow had maximised the powerplays.
SRH desperately needed to win - after just one win from four games, they were rooted near the bottom after three failures at chasing down targets. DC, on the other hand, were flying high after three wins to keep them in the top half.
The game was a topsy-turvy affair, with SRH looking dominant during the powerplay, and then stagnating in the middle before Williamson and J Suchith pulled the team towards an IPL Super Over. SRH struggled their way to 7/0 against Axar Patel's bowling, which DC just about managed to overcome.
Here are the top three reasons why SRH lost to DC on April 25.
#3 Khaleel Ahmed's off-day against DC
The announcement that T Natarajan would no longer be available for IPL 2021 would have made Khaleel Ahmed, another India international left-arm pacer, pleased about the opportunities to come. Prior to this game, he started quite well, with economical and wicket-taking shows against the Mumbai Indians and the Punjab Kings.
However, he couldn't quite match up to the challenge posed by the DC line-up, as he got taken to the cleaners first by Prithvi Shaw - with three fours off the first three balls of the match - and then by Steve Smith at the death. The tall pacer returned with figures of 4-0-42-0 - very expensive given the overall scoring rate of both teams was under 8 an over.
See the updated orange cap 2021 table here.
#2 Virat Singh's momentum-sapping innings for SRH
SRH have, over the last two years, experimented with a somewhat inexperienced Indian middle order. Out of the names tried, while Abdul Samad has come up with the goods whenever needed, the others have disappointed on the biggest stage. On Sunday, 23-year-old Virat Singh had a torrid time out in the middle against the stifling DC spinners and medium pacers.
When Virat came out to bat, at the fall of Jonny Bairstow's wicket, SRH were cruising at 56/2 in 5.4 overs. He then proceeded to score just four off 14 balls, putting enormous pressure on Kane Williamson and the rest of SRH's underwhelming middle order. When he got out, SRH needed more than 8 runs an over, when at one point they needed just a run a ball.
#1 SRH's poor middle-order batting show
Kane Williamson almost single-handedly guided SRH to victory, even contributing in a Super Over score that was nearly enough barring a short run from David Warner. What would have made the effort a lot less painful were contributions from SRH's middle-order batsmen, all of whom have been around the IPL for a while.
Kedar Jadhav, let go of after a miserable season in the Chennai Super Kings yellow, could not impress for SRH as he departed for a run-a-ball nine. Vijay Shankar, batting at 8, compiled a 7-ball 8 while Abhishek Sharma contributed 5. Rashid, sent up as a pinch-hitter, was dismissed first ball.
The collective failure meant SRH found it tough to rebuild from Virat's innings and left it too late, eventually costing themselves a win.