A superb all-round display from the Titans helped them coast to an eight-wicket victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad in a crucial clash at the JSCA International Stdaium in Ranchi on Saturday (September 28). The victory allowed them to climb up to second spot in Group B of Champions League Twenty20 2013, behind Chennai Super Kings, who were playing Brisbane Heat in the second match of the day. The defeat, however, was a big blow to Hyderabad's qualification hopes. (Scorecard | Highlights)
After winning the toss in overcast conditions, Henry Davids, the Titans captain, understandably opted to bowl. His team then backed up his decision with a fine performance that restricted Hyderabad to 145 for 7, with Shikhar Dhawan's 21-ball 37 the highest score of the innings. Dale Steyn played a big role with the bat, smashing four consecutive boundaries in a brief little cameo late on as 21 runs came in the final over. David Wiese was the pick of the Titans bowlers, ended up with magnificent figures 4-0-17-3 after running through the top order. (Match stats)
Davids and Jacques Rudolph, the Titans openers, didn't waste much time in their pursuit of 146. Davids made a stroke-filled 42-ball 64, while Rudolph ended on an unbeaten 49. A couple of wickets fell late on, but the chase was completed with a whopping 21 balls to spare.
Having set Titans a low target, Hyderabad didn't really do a great job of defending it. Davids and Rudolph were rarely threatened early on, and found room to play their shots. Davids seemed in good nick and sent a couple of crisp drives through the covers for four. At one point, he stepped back and lifted Steyn over the extra-cover fence for a majestic six. Rudolph was sedate at the other end, as the batsmen refused to be lured into playing risky shots.
As the innings progressed, the batsmen grew comfortable in the middle. The spinners, Duminy and Amit Mishra, were taken for runs. Twice, Rudolph confidently strutted down and lifted Duminy for sixes - the first over the covers and the next over long-on. In the next over off Mishra, Davids did the same.
Steyn managed to dismiss Davids, getting him to chip to mid-off, and AB de Villiers holed out to mid-off not too long thereafter. The wickets slowed down the scoring rate, but the Titans crossed the line without further ado.
Earlier, Dhawan had given Hyderabad a decent start. While Morne Morkel had Parthiv Patel struggling, with strict adherence to line and length, Dhawan punished Rowan Richards and Marchant de Lange, who were both having trouble finding their line, by putting away anything short and wide. A short delivery from de Lange was even put away high over square leg, as Dhawan raced into the thirties. Patel took his partner's cue, and attempted to hit out against Morkel. There was a pull past fine leg for four, and despite being deceived by a slower ball soon after, he punished Morkel when the length was missed with a glorious pull for a six.
Wiese's introduction in the seventh over, after the Powerplay, gave Titans the necessary wickets, and with it, momentum. With just his third ball, Dhawan holed out to Morkel at third man when attempting to put away a short ball. That brought to an end a 62-run opening stand. In his next over, Wiese had Patel (26 off 24) bowled. A short ball then curtailed Hanuma Vihari's brief knock. When Biplab Samantaray was stumped off a wide bowled by Davids, Hyderabad were reduced to 86 for 4 within 12 overs.
Duminy and Perera then consolidated, keeping the wickets intact as the death overs approached. Having done the hard work to survive, Duminy, Sammy and Perera were all dismissed without making much of an impact. It was then that Steyn joined the party. He smashed some wayward full tosses from de Lange - launching two sixes and as many fours - to take his own score to 27 off just 12 balls. It helped Hyderabad put up 145, but with the Titans' batsmen in ruthless mood, it was far from sufficient.