Dhawan leads from front in Hyderabad win


Shikhar Dhawan continued his prolific run of form as he smashed a brisk half-centuryto provide the platform for Sunrisers Hyderabad¿s emphatic eight-wicket victory over Kandurata Maroons.

Shikhar Dhawan continued his prolific run of form as he smashed a brisk half-century and put on a century stand with fellow-opener Parthiv Patel to provide the platform for Sunrisers Hyderabad's emphatic eight-wicket victory over Kandurata Maroons in their first Champions League Twenty20 qualifier.

The flamboyant batsman, who was captaining the Indian Premier League side for the first time, smashed 71 off just 53 balls as he and Patel thrust their side towards the seemingly imposing target of 168 before Thisara Perera's late cameo ensured the comprehensive victory margin.

Hyderabad's openers made light work of Kandurata's bowling and bludgeoned the all Sri Lankan attack to the fence regularly in the opening 10 overs on a flat batting surface in Mohali to keep ahead of the rate.

It was Patel who provided the early impetus with a flurry of boundaries before Dhawan soon caught up with some typically attractive shots either side of the wicket as the Maroons had no answer to the early onslaught.

Shortly after reaching his half-century in the 14th over, Patel lofted Sheyan Jayasuryia to mid-off before the Sri Lankans sensed a comeback was on the cards when Dhawan slapped Ajantha Mendis to point attempting an audacious reverse-sweep.

With 33 required off 23 deliveries and two new batsmen at the crease, Lahiru Thirimanne's charges felt they were back in the contest but Perera launched six boundaries including two maximums in just eleven balls to get his side over the line without fuss.

Opting to field first, Hyderabad's bowlers justified the decision by making early inroads into the Maroon's batting order with the wickets of Upul Tharanga and Shehan Jayasuryia within the powerplay despite Dale Styen's wayward first over.

The South African seamer made his comeback from injury after five months out and looked a shadow of himself during his opening spell but Dhawan had the luxury of calling upon Ishant Sharma, Darren Sammy and JP Duminy to keep the opposition under the cosh.

However, former skipper of the Sunrisers, Kumar Sangakkara who chose to play for his board instead formed an able ally in Thirimanne as the pair added 89 for the third wicket to help their side towards an imposing total.

While both powered on past aggressive and eye-catching fifties, it was the evergreen Sangakkara who provided the much needed impetus in the final overs as the Maroons closed on 168/3.

But, a seemingly daunting total didn't prove to be enough as an in-form Dhawan and the industrious Patel made mincemeat of Kandurata's experienced bowling attack.

<b>Ryan Bailey</b>