David Warner took center stage in the clash between his current franchise and the one that unceremoniously dumped him last season, an unbeaten 92 from 58 setting up Delhi Capitals for a comfortable victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad, and a much-needed two points in their quest to force a way into contention for the knockout stages. Warner batted through the innings to help guide Capitals to a score above 200, after Kane Williamson had won his ninth toss from ten and chosen to insert. The Australian opener, now fourth on this season’s run-scoring charts, found a vital ally in Rovman Powell as the fourth-wicket pair combined for an unbroken 122-run stand.
Powell finished with three fours and six sixes in 67 from 35, with 70 runs cascading from the last five overs of the innings to put the chase beyond Sunrisers. Needing to score at more than ten an over, Sunrisers barely managed to go at a run a ball for the first half of their innings. A requirement of 145 from ten overs, with just seven wickets standing, was an equation beyond all but the most outrageous of hitting, and although Nicholas Pooran kept them clinging to the coattails of the asking rate with a crisp 62 off 34 – his first fifty of the season.
Khaleel Ahmed picked up 3 for 30 as Capitals attack closed out a win that moved them above their opponents and into fifth on the table. Warner walks the talk. Before this game, Warner emphasized the importance of one of himself, fellow opener Prithvi Shaw, or No. 3 Mitchell Marsh “scoring an 80 or 90 or even a hundred if we can”. With Shaw absent through illness and Marsh falling cheaply – following Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s wicket maiden to start the Capitals innings – Warner took it upon himself to deliver the goods.
His first ball was slapped through the covers, not all that far from going to hand, but thereafter this was a supremely judged innings. He jump-started the scoreboard during a rare outing for Umran Malik in the powerplay, helping himself to three boundaries during an over that cost 23. There were a number of crunching straight drives, leg-side swats for six off Malik and Kartik Tyagi, and a clean mow over long-on against Aiden Markram’s offbreaks. Most impressive of all was his split-second readjustment against Bhuvneshwar, having changed his stance in preparation to switch hit; the ball was full outside leg (to a left-hander).
That came off the first ball of the 19th over, and by the end of it he had moved to 92 from 58 – and in sight of a century against his former franchise. But there was no one in Delhi blue more pumped than Warner, standing at the non-striker’s end as Powell took over against Malik. Powell explained Warner’s advice at the innings break: “At the start of the over, I asked him if he wanted a single, to try and get the hundred and he said: ‘Listen, that is not how the cricket play.’ I should try to smack it as hard as I can and as far as I can, and I did that.”
Powell powers Capitals. A first IPL half-century from Powell set the seal on Capitals’ innings. There was no doubting his ability to “smack it” as hard and as far as he could, as he cleared the ropes six times on the way past 50 from 30 balls. The Jamaican has fulfilled a number of briefs in this Capitals side, appearing as high as No. 3 in the order, and as low as No. 8. But here he said he had asked Rishabh Pant for time to show what he could do at No. 5, and duly repaid the management with his highest score in nine innings.