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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 June 2018

Dhawan stars as Sunrisers Hyderabad open IPL season with thrashing of Rajasthan Royals

Indian batsman combines with captain Williamson to guide his side to a nine-wicket win over the returning franchise

Sunrisers Hyderabad batsman Shikar Dhawan led his side to victory against Rajasthan Royals. Mahesh Kumar A / AP Photo
Sunrisers Hyderabad batsman Shikar Dhawan led his side to victory against Rajasthan Royals. Mahesh Kumar A / AP Photo

Sunrisers Hyderabad opened their 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL) season with a thumping nine- wicket win over the reinstated Rajasthan Royals at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Monday.

Set 126 to win, Hyderabad reached their target with 25 balls to spare as Shikhar Dhawan and captain Kane Williamson combined to guide their team to a comfortable victory.

After winning the toss, Hyderabad sent Rajasthan in to bat, and the decision paid off in the first over when opening batsman D'Arcy Short (4) was run out by Williamson.

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Rajasthan captain Ajinkya Rahane (13) and Sanju Samson (49), who top-scored for Rajasthan, then combined for 46 runs - their side's only meaningful partnership before the skipper was removed by Siddarth Kaul.

England all-rounder Ben Stokes (5), who proved a huge success in his debut IPL season for Rising Pune Supergiant last year, failed to steady the Rajasthan innings, nor did his international teammate Jos Buttler who only fared one run better.

Rahul Tripathi (17) and Shreyas Gopal (18) ensured the Rajasthan innings didn't end in total collapse.

However, the target posted by Rajasthan was never going to trouble Hyderabad, particularly given their top-order firepower.

While Wriddhiman Saha (5) was dismissed early by Jaydev Unadkat, his removal only paved the way for Dhawan and Williamson to come together and lead Hyderabad to victory.

Dhawan's 77 came off just 57 deliveries and comprised 13 fours and a six. Williamson, meanwhile, was a touch more conservative compared to Dhawan. The New Zealand captain took 35 balls to reach his 36, hitting three fours and a six.

The wide margin of victory propelled Hyderabad to the top of the IPL leaderboard, while the defeat offered a punishing return to the IPL for Rajasthan, who were suspended for the past two editions over a corruption and match-fixing scandal.

Today's schedule sees Chennai Super Kings host Kolkata Knight Riders at the M A Chidambaram Stadium. Like Rajasthan, Chennai have also returned to the IPL following a two-year ban.