Hyderabad: Cameron White hadn't made too much of a contribution in regulation play, scoring just five as Sunrisers Hyderabad tied Royal Challengers Bangalore's 130, but exploded in the Super Over with two giant sixes off R Vinay Kumar to set up Hyderabad's second victory on the bounce.
White's fireworks propelled Hyderabad to 20 in the Super Over on Sunday (April 7) night at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in the Pepsi IPL, a score Dale Steyn defended well by conceding only 15 to Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli.
Boundaries had been hard to come by all match long – 40 overs combined had thrown up just 18 fours and two sixes – but in the two Super Overs, there were three sixes and a four, with White the principal contributor. "You know when Chris Gayle’s batting in the other Super Over that you have to get a decent score," said White after the game. "Thankfully, Thisara (Perera) and myself were able to get a total that Dale was able to defend. Dale bowled a brilliant over, a lot of credit has to go to Dale because bowling to Chris and Virat is definitely not easy."
G Hanuma Vihari emerged the unlikely star in normal play, picking up Gayle's wicket with his first delivery in IPL cricket and making a steady, unbeaten 44 to anchor the Hyderabad chase. "We talked about it yesterday and today," said White of opening the bowling with the occasional offspinner, against the mighty Gayle. "Credit goes to Tom Moody and Kumar (Sangakkara) for making that decision. It was one of those decisions that they made and it obviously worked. They are a very dangerous side and Chris is the most dangerous batsman. It was nice to get him out today and hopefully on Tuesday (in Bangalore), we can do the same thing.
"Chris is probably, along with Virat and (Tillakaratne) Dilshan, the most crucial wicket but Chris has been in devastating form for a long period of time and he has done it time and time again in the IPL," said White, adding that getting Gayle out cheaply was a massive moment in the game. "It's a huge wicket to get. His wicket, especially in their batting line-up — they rely on him a lot to get them big scores. It was a great match all-round for Vihari, I think he played a great part in us winning."
Last year, Hyderabad – then represented by Deccan Chargers – lost several close matches but already this season, they have won two games that could have gone either way. Asked if he could put a finger on what Hyderabad were doing right this season, White replied, "I'd like to say our fielding, but I don't think that was too good today either. I think it's been our bowling. We have scrapped our way. We haven't played brilliantly but we have done just enough to win. We are fighting hard and playing well as a team. The bowlers are keeping us in the job but we definitely have to improve with the bat if we want to go a long way in the tournament.
"There is no doubt that our batting has to be better. We need to lift our game, that's for sure. The bowlers are doing a really good job but from a batting point of view, myself definitely included, we have to make the bowlers' job a bit easier and bat better."
The Hyderabad track was a bit up-and-down, admitted White, who said he was looking forward to batting at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on Tuesday in the return clash between the sides. "It was quite a slow wicket but the ball came on to the bat a little bit better," said White, comparing this track to the one on Friday when Hyderabad defended 126 against Pune Warriors India. "But as you can see, it was 130 plays 130, so it wasn't high-scoring. It's just a little two-paced and a little slow.
"But yes, I am looking forward to batting in Bangalore, it's one of the better places to bat. The boundaries are quite small and the ball comes on to the bat nicely. Last year's wicket was an absolute beauty and I remember playing there against RCB. So hopefully, the wicket's pretty similar this time too."