Hyderabad: A new-look Sunrisers Hyderabad made an inspired start to their IPL 6 campaign by defending a total of 126 with venom, beating a timid Pune Warriors by 22 runs to make it three wins in a row at their home ground of Uppal. The previous two came at the end of the 2012 season when the Hyderabad-based franchise was known as Deccan Chargers, but on Thursday, with a new name, new captain and new players, the home team gave their fans plenty to cheer about.
Pune simply choked on a gettable target, losing wickets in two decisive clusters - 4 for 15 after a 36-run opening stand and 6 for 21 after a 33-run stand between Abhishek Nayar and Ross Taylor. Pune's first fell behind the Powerplay, which produced just 27 runs, and just when it looked like Robin Uthappa (24) was starting to find his rhythm with a six and two fours, he steered a harmless delivery from Thisara Perera to Parthiv Patel behind the stumps.
Moments later Perera had his second wicket when Marlon Samuels played straight to Cameron White at slip. Then it was Amit Mishra's turn to hit Pune harder, with Yuvraj Singh stumped for 2 off a lovely delivery and Manish Pandey caught at point for a 28-ball 15. Mishra pocketed a third with his penultimate delivery, as Nayar (19) spooned a catch to extra cover to leave Pune needing 43 from the last four overs.
Ashish Reddy returned and bowled Taylor (17) with a full and swinging delivery and then Mitchell Marsh was run out after a firm blow from Angelo Mathews deflected off Perera's fingers onto the nonstriker's stumps. Defending 24 off 12 balls, Dale Steyn came back and cleaned up Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Rahul Sharma in consecutive deliveries and then Dinda caught by White to spark celebrations from the Hyderabad fans. Steyn finished with excellent figures of 3 for 11 in 3.5 overs, having played a big role in not allowing Pune to get off to a flier at the start.
Hyderabad's performance in the field was needed after they struggled with the bat - they managed just 12 fours and a six, with no batsman able to cross 30 after Mathews opted to field. Just five boundaries peppered the Powerplay as Parthiv and Akshath Reddy played more deliveries to fielders than to the ropes. Dinda struck the first blow in the sixth over by bowling Parthiv (19) and Hyderabad didn't really cash in on the Powerplay, which produced just 38.
At this stage Reddy was on 12 off 14 balls, and 23 deliveries later, when Kumar Sangakkara advanced to Rahul Sharma and was bowled for 15, the 22-year-old had crawled to 23 off 25. Reddy's misery was put to an end when he too swung across the line and missed to give Yuvraj a wicket in his IPL comeback match, and with White falling to Samuels for 10 the hone team slumped to 87 for 4 in 15 overs. Perera slugged Samuels for four and six in the 17th over to raise Hyderabad's 100 but got as far as 30 before top-edging a full toss from Dinda to long-on. Dinda then held a smart catch at short fine leg to get rid of Hanuma Vihari, and then gave nine in the final over to finish with 2 for 29.