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Warner and Shikhar shine

Hyderabad: A clinical performance by the Sunrisers Hyderabad top order ensured a seven- wicket victory against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), which kept them in the hunt for a play-off berth in IPL VII, here, on Tuesday.

Chasing a target of 161, Sunrisers knocked off the runs in 19.4 overs as Shikhar Dhawan returned to form with a stroke-filled 50. While Shikhar started the chase in right earnest, David Warner, back in the opening slot, smashed his way to 46-ball-59.

It was captain Darren Sammy, who smashed a six off the penultimate over by an erratic Varun Aaron that as good as won Sunrisers the game. Both Sunrisers and Royal Challengers have 10 points from 12 games each, but Virat Kohli’s men are a place ahead at fifth thanks to a better net run-rate.

During the chase, Dhawan’s 39-ball innings had seven fours and a six while Warner hit three boundaries and four huge sixes. The openers turned the game well in favour of the Sunrisers with a 100-run stand in 12.3 overs.

It was Dhawan, who attacked from the outset with some flowing cover drives and a hook off Aaron that got his team half-a-dozen. His 50 came in the last over of the Powerplay as Warner took off after that.

Out of his sixes, the first was a charge to Muttiah Muralidharan, followed by a couple of clean hits off the half-trackers that Yuzvendra Chahal had on offer. The fourth six off Abu Nechim Ahmed was struck over long-off.

Warner was out off a full toss from Aaron, but Naman Ojha (24), along with Aaron Finch (11 not out) and Sammy (10 not out) saw to it that there were no hiccups in the end.

Earlier, RCB captain Kohli was back in form at the nick of time as Royal Challengers Bangalore scored a respectable 160 for six after opting to bat on a track where batting wasn’t very easy. Kohli struck his first half-century of IPL VII with a strokeful 67 off 41 balls.