Hyderabad, April 30 (IANS) David Warner notched up his eighth half century of the season to help Sunrisers Hyderabad beat Kings XI Punjab by 45 runs in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match at Rajiv Gandhi International stadium here on Monday.
Warner, who is the tournament's highest scorer, smashed a typically belligerent 81 off 56 balls. His innings was laced with seven fours and two sixes in his last game for Sunrisers as he has to leave for Australia to take part in their World Cup preparations.
The home team posted 212/6 after being asked to bat first.
Chasing 213 for victory, KL Rahul staged a lone battle for Kings XI with a brilliant 56-ball 79 (4x4, 5x6) but other batsmen failed to deliver around him as they limped to 167/8 in 20 overs.
Rahul and Mayank Agarwal (27) shared a 60-run stand for the second wicket after Chris Gayle (4) departed early.
But once Agarwal holed out to Vijay Shankar at cow corner off Rashid Khan (3/21), Kings XI did not have any good partnership going before debutant P Simran Singh (16) joined hands with Rahul for a 53-run association, which was too late in the end.
It took a brilliant catch from skipper Kane Williamson to remove World Cup bound Rahul off Khaleel Ahmed (3/40) towards the end of a spectacular innings which lasted 95 minutes.
Courtesy the result, Sunrisers moved to 12 points from 12 matches while Kings XI remained on 10 points from 12 outings.
Earlier, Warner was removed Ashwin in the 16th over but the damage was already done by then with Manish Pandey (36; 25b; 3x4; 1x6), Wriddhiman Saha (28; 13b; 3x4; 1x6) and Mohammad Nabi (20; 10b; 2x6) contributing to the total.
For the visitors, Ashwin (2/30) was the pick of the bowlers as Mujeeb Ur Rahman, returning to the team, was taken for 66 runs in his four overs, including one in which the Afghanistan spinner leaked 26 runs, the most expensive spell of bowling this IPL.
Since Warner was dismissed, Kings XI reined in a bit with a flurry of wickets but still could not stop Sunrisers from crossing the 200-run mark. Sunrisers could manage just 17 runs in the last two overs, losing three wickets.
It was a dream start for the orange army as they raced to 53/0 in four overs, and then 77/0 after Powerplay, both scores the fastest this season.
Warner and Saha shared a 76-run opening wicket stand before the India Test wicketkeeper under edged a delivery by M. Ashwin to Simran Singh behind the stumps.
Pandey and Warner continued the carnage, combining for an 82-run stand for the second wicket.
Just when it looked like they would post a score well past 200, R. Ashwin snared two wickets in the 16th over, first removing Pandey and then accounting for Warner.
While Pandey was taken at short fine leg by Mohammed Shami, Warner was taken at point by Mujeeb after Ashwin came round the wicket.
Williamson scored a quickfire 7-ball 14 but could not continue in the same vein as Kings XI managed to do some damage control with Shami taking two wickets, including Williamson's, in the 19th over and Arshdeep Singh getting the back of Rashid Khan (1) in the last over.
Brief scores: Sunrisers Hyderabad 212/6 (David Warner 81; Manish Pandey 36; R Ashwin 2/30; Mohammed Shami 2/36) beat Kings XI Punjab 167/8 in 20 overs (KL Rahul 79; Rashid Khan 3/21; Khaleel Ahmed 3/40).