Faulkner claims five, Royals restrict Sunrisers to 136

Hyderabad, May 17 (IANS) James Faulkner had a dream spell, claiming five for 16 as Rajasthan Royals restricted Sunrisers Hyderabad to 136 in their crucial Indian Premier League (IPL) match at the Rajiv Gandhi stadium here Friday.

Electing to bat after winning the toss, Sunrisers reached 136 after being reduced to three for five in third over, thanks mainly to Biplab Samantray’s 55 (46 balls, 6×4,1×6) and some useful contribution by Darren Sammy (23) and Hanuma Vihari (19).

Playing their first match after the arrest of their three players in spot-fixing scandal, Rajasthan Royals took to the field confidently, dominating the game in the initial overs.

With a spell reading 4-1-16-5, Faulkner was simply unplayable. With 26 wickets in 14 matches, he has become the leading wicket taker this IPL season. It was the second five wicket haul for the Australian this IPL. He had claimed five for 20 against the same opponents in Jaipur.

Shane Watson and Siddharth Trivedi claimed a wicket each while other bowlers also bowled with tight line and length to restrict the home team in their must-win match.

Sunrisers had a disastrous start, losing both the openers in the second over, bowled by Faulkner. Parthiv Patel was the first to depart when an inside edge rattled the stumps even as he was trying to steer it to third man. It was Faulkner’s very first ball. He gave another vital breakthrough on the last ball of the over when Shikhar Dhawan mistimed a drive, only to be held at point by Ajinkya Rahane.

Captain Cameron White returned to pavilion on the very first ball he faced. White hooked Shane Watson to fine-leg but Siddharth Trivedi took a superb catch on the boundary. The home side lost three wickets in a span of 10 deliveries and was in deep trouble at 5 for 3 in third over.

Samantray hit Pravin Tambe for the first boundary in the fifth over, as he along with local boy Hanuma Vihari tried to steer the inning. They added 44 for the fourth wicket before Vihari (19 runs off 28 balls) tried to go for a big hit off Trivedi, only to give a high catch to Sachin Baby.

Playing only his sixth match of this season, Samantray looked in good touch. He along with Darren Sammy rebuilt the inning. Playing some attractive shots, they gave momentum to the inning, adding 56 runs in 35 deliveries before Sammy (23 off 19, 1×4,1×6) got out in the 17th over. It was once again Faulkner, who gave the visitors a vital breakthrough.

Joined by Thisara Perera at the other end, Samantray continued his good show to score his first 50 of the season. His half-century came off 43 deliveries and it includes five fours and one six. The 24-year-old’s previous best this season was 37 against Pune Warriors.

Faulkner struck again to remove Samantray in his fourth over and the 19th of the inning. He also claimed a wicket on the last ball of his spell by uprooting Dale Steyn’s stumps.

The home side could manage only 14 runs in the last two overs, losing four wickets, including two run outs in the final over.

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