IPL David Warner vs Steve Smith, Sunrisers Hyderabad win against Rajasthan Royals

David Warner has continued his sizzling start to the Indian Premier League, bludgeoning 69 from 37 balls to outgun Steve Smith and help Sunrisers Hyderabad defeat Rajasthan Royals in a high-scoring contest.

Warner’s march to the World Cup has not been halted by a week full of headlines that harked back to the Cape Town cheating scandal.

The sacked vice-captain, painted as the architect of the ball-tampering ploy at Newlands by Cricket Australia, was in devastating touch as he top-scored for Sunrisers and clobbered a half-century in 26 deliveries.

Hours after Australia compiled a total of 7-277 in their ODI against Pakistan in Dubai, Warner unleashed in the sort of fashion that suggests an unprecedented suspension has not affected his batting.

Warner and Smith, both taking the field for the first time since their year-long suspensions from international cricket ended, squared off in Hyderabad on Friday.

Smith, demoted below Ben Stokes in the order, didn’t get to bat as the Royals posted an imposing 2-198 thanks to a century from Sanju Samson.

media_cameraIt was as close as Steve Smith got to the action.

Warner helped Hyderabad make light work of the target, bullying the Royals’ attack as the home side reached 5-201 in 19 overs.

Warner rocketed his team to 0-61 in the sixth over, at which point he was on 52.

It was the 41st time Warner has reached fifty in the IPL. Virat Kohli (38 fifties) is the only batsman anywhere near Warner’s stunning record.

He was the talk of the IPL even after Samson’s incredible innings.

The hard-hitting opener hammered nine fours, including three in Stokes’ first over, and two sixes.

He had his fifty inside the opening power play.

The English allrounder later returned to the attack to dismiss Warner, whose mistimed pull shot resulted in a catch for Dhawal Kulkarni.

The innings, likely to have left as big an impression on Australia coach Justin Langer as the overwhelmed opposition, came after Warner scored 85 in Hyderabad’s IPL opener.

Langer, selectors and Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts had considered during the home summer whether Warner and Smith should return for the final two ODIs against Pakistan.

The disgraced duo’s elbow injuries in January ensured it wouldn’t happen. Smith and Warner did however mingle with the ODI squad during a one-day stopover in Dubai en route to India for the Twenty20 competition.

“It was good to get them in and for the boys to just go to the bar and have a beer with them the night before, to sort of break the ice,” captain Aaron Finch said.

“They were probably as nervous as anyone.”

Finch said earlier this week the form of the Aussie team right now will leave Australian selectors with “bloody hard” decisions await as they prepare to pick a 15-man World Cup squad and settle on which two batsmen make way for Steve Smith and David Warner.

media_cameraDavid Warner is back.

Selectors toyed with the idea of the gifted batsmen playing the final two ODIs against Pakistan, but the pair’selbow injuries in January scotched that idea.

Coach Justin Langer and selectors will meet soon after the completion of the current ODI series to finalise a 15-man World Cup squad, which must be submitted by April 23.

The disgraced duo are fully expected to be included.

Ashton Turner looms as the most likely man to make way but he and every other specialist batsman in the current squad has produced a match-winning innings during the current six-match winning streak.

“It is bloody hard …there’s going to be some very unlucky blokes out there,” Finch admitted.

“No matter who misses out on the squad. Especially when the side is playing so well, it’s going to be difficult.

“I will definitely have my views. Justin (Langer) and I, we talk all the time.

“Every day about selections and team make-ups, different scenarios and things like that.” The fact that quicks Mitchell Starc (torn pec), Josh Hazlewood (back) and Jhye Richardson (dislocated shoulder) are all racing the clock to be fit for the 50-over tournament adds another level of complexity.

— with AAP

Originally published as Warner explodes to show up Smith

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