|Indian Premier League, Dubai:|
|Rajasthan Royals 164-5 (20 overs): Samson 82 (57 balls); Kaul 2-36|
|Sunrisers Hyderabad 167-3 (18,3 overs): Roy 60 (42), Williamson 51* (41)|
|Sunrisers Hyderabad won by seven wickets|
Jason Roy and Kane Williamson led the Sunrisers Hyderabad to just their second Indian Premier League victory in 2021 as they beat the Rajasthan Royals.
England opener Roy replaced David Warner and had 60 of 42 balls on his debut in their seven-wicket win.
New Zealand skipper Williamson clocked an unbeaten 51 as he reached 167-3 with nine balls left in Dubai.
Earlier, the Royals’ 164-5 tally was based on Captain Sanju Samson’s impressive 82 on just 57 balls.
Needing a win to move up to fourth place in the table – and therefore in the race for the playoffs – the Royals looked set for a much bigger total before Samson was caught by Jason Holder off Siddarth Kaul.
But some smart bowling alleyways from the Sunrisers, and Indian fashion designer Bhuvneshwar Kumar in particular, have restricted Rajasthan towards the end of their sleeves.
It was a measured pursuit from start to finish for Hyderabad, who are bottom of the eight-team table and cannot reach the play-offs, while the Royals remain in sixth, having to win their remaining four games to qualify.
Roy makes his mark before Williamson sees him at home
For Sunrisers, most of the pre-game talk was about who wasn’t playing, as opposed to who was playing.
After scoring two goals on his return to IPL, Australian star Warner was dropped. So often ensuring meteoric starts for his side alongside England’s Jonny Bairstow – who has chosen not to return for this phase of the tournament – Warner’s struggles have contributed significantly to the downfall of Sunrisers in 2021.
“It’s a bit of a weird selection because it’s very difficult for a team to keep someone like David Warner out of his XI,” former IPL player Abhishek Jhunjhunwala said on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra.
“But they have to make some tough choices, and along with Jason Roy he’s one of the most attacking hitters in world cricket, so why not give him a few games?
Roy seized his opportunity as the Sunrisers reached 63-1 in the six-man power play and although he was abandoned on 55, his club approach was perfectly complemented by the patience of Williamson, who made a 51. generally measured on 41 balls.
Needing 50 to win eight times when Roy was out, Williamson – much appreciated for his composure in the crease – never looked edgy.
He broke two lines in the 19th to move past the 50 and his team to victory, ultimately giving Sunrisers fans just their second win of a tough season.
Samson shines taking the orange cap
Samson was not part of the Indian squad for the T20 World Cup, and his performance here was a clear indicator of their astounding strength at depth in this format.
Coming to third after the untimely fall of opener Evin Lewis, Samson immediately took the lead, adding 56 for the second wicket with Yashasvi Jaiswal (36).
The Sunrisers bowlers had no response to Samson’s 360-degree scoring, Rashid Khan, daringly reversed, the spinner on the legs on his first try and hitting all six with sheer timing and elegance on an extra blanket.
With the Royals needing four out of four wins, Samson’s form will be key. As a captain and wicket keeper, and smashing it at number three, you will definitely get your money’s worth.
Despite the loss, Samson grabbed the orange cap – awarded to the competition’s top scorer, although Delhi Capitals’ Shikhar Dhawan was just three points behind him.