Sunrisers Hyderabad opener Shikhar Dhawan said he wants to continue playing with an aggressive approach in the ongoing Indian Premier League 2018 after guiding his team to a handsome nine-wicket victory over Rajasthan Royals in their opening match on Monday. Dhawan capitalised on a reprieve when on nought as he smashed his way to an unbeaten 77 to help Sunrisers Hyderabad thrash Rajasthan Royals at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad. (FULL MATCH SCORECARD)
"I enjoy playing long innings. It benefits the team, it benefits me. Trying to stretch the good form as long as possible and score big runs for as long as I can. I've been playing more aggressively since South Africa series and the Sri Lanka series, and not just in this IPL. So I'm just continuing with that formula, and I'm happy with it," Dhawan, who won the Man of the Match, said after the match. (WATCH SRH VS RR HIGHLIGHTS)
Chasing 126 for a win after the Sunrisers' bowlers had produced a disciplined display to restrict the Royals to a paltry total, Dhawan was dropped in the first over by captain Ajinkya Rahane and that blunder cost the visiting side dear in the end. (FULL IPL 2018 COVERAGE)
Dhawan (77 not out off 57 balls) later grew into confidence and in the company of his captain Kane Williamson (36 not out off 35 balls), he tore apart the Royals bowling attack as the Sunrisers overhauled the target with 4.1 overs to spare.
The absence of the disgraced Australian batsman David Warner at the top of the order was not felt as Dhawan and Williamson stitched 121 runs for the unbroken second wicket from 14.2 overs. Wriddhiman Saha, who was promoted to the top of order to take Warner's place, was out for five in the second over but from there on Dhawan and Williamson denied any success to the listless Royals bowlers as the home side began their IPL campaign on a winning note.
Dhawan was the more aggressor of the duo as he hit 13 fours and a six to carry his bat through the innings while Williamson had three fours and a six as the Sunrisers reached to 127 for 1 in 15.5 overs.
Earlier, the Sunrisers produced a disciplined bowling display to restrict the Royals to a paltry 125 for 9.
The home side bowlers justified captain Williamson's decision to put the opposition in after winning the toss as the Royals struggled to score runs on a pitch which got the turn as the match wore on.
Dhawan said Sunrisers Hyderabad will now look to continue the momentum in the rest of the tournament.
"We have a very balanced team, which is the strength of our side, and that is the key. We have started the tournament on a good note, and hopefully that'll help us and give us the momentum for the rest of the tournament," he said.