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IPL 2017, Match 33, KXIP v SRH, CT Player of the Match – Shikhar Dhawan

Dhawan's 48-ball 77 and a 107-run stand with skipper David Warner powered the Sunrisers Hyderabad to 207.

Shikhar Dhawan
Shikhar Dhawan. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad were on the hunt for their first away win. Shikhar Dhawan put his hand up to finally check that box on Friday night in Mohali. A 48-ball 77 and a 107-run stand with skipper David Warner powered the Sunrisers Hyderabad to 207 yet again, replicating the scorecard in the curtain raiser of this edition of the IPL.

Despite a one-man army called Shaun Marsh, the Kings XI Punjab fell well short of the target. However, it was Dhawan’s knock which set up a total in excess of 200 which is hard to chase under any circumstances. Striking at over 160, Dhawan made sure that the Sunrisers Hyderabad had enough runs on the board against a powerful KXIP batting line-up.

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Class act

They say left-handers have a different level of elegance when they cream the ball through the off side. Shikhar Dhawan has that natural elegance of the left-hander. Somewhat of a latecomer to international cricket, Dhawan made his first opportunity count in this very ground.

The then debutant in India’s Test side smashed 187 off 174 balls to set up India’s win in a match that was reduced to four days. He was later picked in India’s squad for the 2013 Champions Trophy which they went on to win. He carried his sizzling form into that tournament with two centuries in the team’s first two matches.

With a couple of 70+ scores and two healthy 40s, the left-hander now finds himself at 4th position in line for the Orange Cap. Dhawan’s strike rate this season has been just over 125, which would be considered a bit on the slower side in T20 parlance. However, his strength has been hitting the boundaries. With 36 fours so far in the season, Dhawan finds himself behind leader Gautam Gambhir who has 49 to his name.

Aggressive start

Following a tidy start from Ishant Sharma, Dhawan took off in the second over. He smashed young Anureet Singh for two consecutive boundaries. Dhawan then picked an Ishant delivery on the pads and whipped it over backward square for 6. The wrists and hands were in action for that shot.

The boundaries came on occasions, but Dhawan was also busy running between the wickets. At the other end was David Warner, one of the quickest between the wickets there’s ever been. The duo were hence able to convert the ones into twos. The Sunrisers were marching along at a healthy run rate, courtesy of a strong opening stand by Warner and Dhawan.

50 and beyond

The duo was matching each other shot for shot. Their scores were also moving neck and neck. Warner was the first amongst the two to bring up a fine fifty. Dhawan followed suit the very next ball. The SRH skipper however perished just 5 balls after his personal milestone. In came Kane Williamson at one drop and Dhawan found another sturdy batsman on the other hand.

Williamson being another quick man, the twos kept coming for Shikhar Dhawan. Post his fifty, the odd boundary also featured in Dhawan’s knock. Despite just one boundary in 14th over, Dhawan squeezed 12 runs off that over from Cariappa – such was the impact of good running between the wickets.

Mohit Sharma came into the attack to bowl the 15th and Dhawan greeted him with a four. He shuffled across the off stump and shovelled a hip-high ball over short fine leg. That shot was, however, Dhawan’s swan-song as he perished the very next ball thanks to a spectacular catch from Glenn Maxwell.

Dhawan departed with 77 off 48, with the Sunrisers scorecard reading 147-2 in the 15th over. SRH were well on course for a 200+ score. The groundwork was however done by Warner and more importantly Shikhar Dhawan.

With KL Rahul injured, his knocks would surely keep him in contention for a spot in India’s Champions Trophy squad. This particular knock, however, won him CricTracker’s Player of the Match award.

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