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Bhuvi scripts Royals’ fall

- Watson’s split hat-trick in vain as Sunrisers defend total with ease

Ahmedabad: Sunrisers Hyderabad stay afloat in the top-four race as they registered a comprehensive 32-run win over Rajasthan Royals, thanks to some inspiring bowling, here, at the Sardar Patel Stadium, on Thursday.

Sunrisers looked down and out after posting a modest 134 for nine, but they came out all guns blazing, forcing their rivals into submission with their fiery bowling, led by young Bhuvneshwar Kumar (4/14).

Bhuvneshwar provided the first breakthrough in the third ball of the Royals innings and then took three wickets in the 18th over that as good as sealed the game for the Sunrisers.

His senior colleague Dale Steyn (2/33) took two wickets while Karn Sharma, Moises Henriques and Irfan Pathan took a wicket each in a collective bowling effort to bowl the Royals out for 102 with one ball to spare.

The result meant took the sheen off Royals captain Shane Watson’s split hat-trick as the Sunrisers moved up to fifth from in the points table.

Their batting, though, was disappointing to say the least. Poor shot selection let the Sunrisers down as none of the batsmen, barring captain Shikhar Dhawan (33), applied themselves as Watson (3/13) and Rajat Bhatia (3/23) shared six wickets between them.

For Watson, he dismissed Dhawan in the last ball of his first over and then sent back Moises Henriques and Karn Sharma (0) when he returned for his second over — 17 th of the Royals innings — later. In his previous match as well, the burly Australian had taken three wickets in one over against Kolkata Knight Riders that triggered a collapse.

However, the Sunrisers made a match out of it with their spirited bowling effort. Both pacers and spinners bowled their hearts out to cripple the rival batsmen.

Pacers Bhuvneshwar and Steyn were disciplined with their line and length while Karn and Amit Mishra used the spin-friendly conditions to perfection. Bhuvneshwar gave a perfect start by having Ajinkya Rahane out in the third ball of the Royals’ reply before Steyn had the in-form Karun Nair (12) caught behind.

Karn bamboozled the dangerous Sanju Samson (16) with a peach of a delivery and then Henriques got the prised wicket of Watson, having the latter caught behind.

David Warner then made it 78 for five by sending back Stuart Binny with a direct hit. Steven Smith (22) and the seasoned Rajat Bhatia had a huge task to get the team out of the rut, as the Royals needed 54 runs off the last five overs.

Steyn dented their hopes by dismissing Smith and Bhuvneshwar saw the back of James Faulkner and Bhatia in successive balls to put Sunrisers on the driving seat.

Earlier, Dhawan, who had been struggling thus far, seemed to have found his touch back as he hit some sweetly-timed boundaries. His cuts and drives, predominantly on the off-side, reached the boundary ropes in jiffy.

However, he could not capitalise on the stupendous start once again, getting back to the dugout in somewhat strange fashion. A ball from Watson kept slightly low and the faint edge carried the ball onto stumps. His 20-ball knock had seven boundaries.