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Spin Twins Shine as Sunrisers Hyderabad Stifle Rajasthan Royals' Chase

So much of the batting discourse this season can be condensed to the idea of batters not offering an inch against favorable match-ups, emboldened by the cushion of an additional player. A slow start or an early collapse is easily made up for if a team can nail their batting order decisions to allow for continuous match-up gains. Jaiswal giving Shahbaz the charge despite already tonking him for a six was the opener trying to squeeze every ounce of his advantage against the left-arm spinner. At that point, Shahbaz's responsibility was to get away with as little damage as possible in what remained of the over. A slightly short and slower delivery - that Jaiswal hit to Abdul Samad at long-off, however, opened up a world of opportunity for Cummins.

Riyan Parag purposefully emerged and bumped fists with his captain as the task of getting 111 from 73 balls seemed within reach for two of RR's best batters this season. But their alliance on a slow surface with dew not arriving gave Cummins the chance to sneak in more left-arm spin. On came another batting all-rounder to influence the game with the ball. A flat hit from Samson off Abhishek Sharma flew towards the long on fence, but Aiden Markram acrobatically cut it short with an excellent, low catch. RR were three down with two left-arm spinners in tandem, and yet it was Dhruv Jurel who walked out, instead of a left-hander like Shimron Hetmyer to force Cummins to take a different bowling route.

"Yes, there was a thought [of sending Hetmyer after Samson's dismissal]," RR's director of cricket Kumar Sangakkara revealed after the game. "But I didn't think the ball was turning as badly as sometimes you can make it out to be. All you needed was just sensible batting, just building a partnership. I think Yash [asvi Jaiswal] staying there would have made a big difference."

Cummins's initial plan to sneak in just one over from Abhishek changed. The opening batter was now leading a spin squeeze in tandem with Shahbaz as the SRH skipper, chirpier and more pronounced orchestrator of his fields, sensed a real opportunity to drag the game away. Two tight overs on a gripping and turning surface with six dots and nine runs between them turned the screws on RR. Parag, quite often the face and hope of his team this season, erred first. He danced down the wicket against Shahbaz but went nowhere really, as his miscue landed in the hands of Abhishek running in from deep square-leg.

R Ashwin once again batted higher than RR's designated middle-order in the hope of breaking the left-arm spin status quo with a cameo. But with the ball turning generously for Shahbaz, Ashwin just couldn't put bat to it. An exasperated sigh - perhaps at how much the ball spun at this juncture of the game - on the second ball he faced was followed by his dismissal on the third when an attempted cut went to Heinrich Klaasen behind the stumps.

By the time Hetmyer finally arrived, the two spinners had already picked 4 wickets for 23 runs in nearly five overs between them, conceding a solitary six. Abhishek added a fifth wicket to their tally with a delivery that had subtle drift and straightened to hit Hetmyer's stumps. The complete no-show from dew allowed Cummins to bowl eight overs of left-arm spin that sank RR's chase.


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