Warner inspires Sunrisers to highest run chase in victory over Rajasthan
David Warner got the better of Steve Smith as Sunrisers Hyderabad recorded a five-wicket victory over Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League.
Friday's match saw the two Australians go head-to-head after the 12-month bans for their involvement in the ball-tampering scandal came to an end.
Smith's duties were limited to time in the field as the Royals posted 198-2 from their 20 overs, the former Australia captain not getting to the crease as Sanju Samson (102) struck the first hundred of the 2019 IPL season.
He was ably assisted by Ajinkya Rahane (71), but their efforts were in vain as the Warner-inspired Sunrisers completed their highest IPL run chase.
Warner and Jonny Bairstow provided a superb start as they shared a 110-run opening stand, the Australian taking the role of aggressor with nine fours and two maximums.
Ben Stokes (1-40) accounted for Warner but his England team-mate Bairstow (45) continued to impress until he was superbly caught on the boundary by Dhawal Kulkarni.
It would not halt the Sunrisers' charge, though, as Vijay Shankar (35) and Yusuf Pathan (16 not out) delivered some lusty blows to give Hyderabad renewed momentum.
Shreyas Gopal took two wickets in as many balls to give Rajasthan hope, but successive boundaries from Rashid Khan (15no) – the latter a clipped six over square leg – sealed Hyderabad's first win of the tournament.
As Hyderabad celebrated, spare a thought for Samson. He batted beautifully for the Royals, who opted to bat first after winning the toss.
The 24-year-old combined brilliantly with Rahane after Jos Buttler's early exit for 5, helping push Rajasthan to a competitive total with 10 boundaries and four sixes.
He reached three figures in just 54 balls as he slapped Bhuvneshwar Kumar (0-55) for four midway through the final over, but ultimately his ton was to be in a losing cause.
BYE BYE BAIRSTOW
Bairstow played second fiddle to Warner in the early stages but once he got motoring the England batsman looked in fine form.
He must have felt it too because when he launched a huge drive over long-off, the 29-year-old could not quite believe Kulkarni had taken a superb catch.
Kulkarni - who had earlier dropped the same batsman - judged his jump to perfection and clung on with his fingertips, sending the right-hander on his way.
First the drop, then the stunner - courtesy @dhawal_kulkarni— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) March 29, 2019
Dhawal Kulkarni dropped a sitter but compensated it with a stunning catch in the next over to send back Bairstow