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Thanks to a seven-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore, Sunrisers Hyderabad picked up all-important two points that will come in handy as the mid-table race for the Pepsi IPL 2014 Playoffs heats up. Thanks to half-centuries by their openers – Shikhar Dhawan and David Warner – SRH achieved the 161-run target with two overs to spare. Even their bowlers – led by Bhuvneshwar Kumar – did well to restrict the strong RCB line-up to 160 for six.
Earlier, Virat Kohli won the toss and opted to bat first in Hyderabad. Bhuvneshwar Kumar then struck in the first over by trapping Parthiv Patel (4) leg-before. The SRH bowlers then pumped the breaks on the scoring-rate despite Chris Gayle and Kohli joining forces. In fact, Karn Sharma ended Gayle’s (14) 20-ball stay at the crease in the sixth over. And by the end of the powerplay, RCB had posted a pedestrian 25 for two.
And while Yuvraj Singh came in to bat with his skipper, the duo could not speed up the scoring rate right away. But they did accelerate once the team fifty came up in the 11th over; first, Yuvraj played a key role in plundering 12 off a Parvez Rasool over, and then, Kohli scored 19 in the next over, which was bowled by Karn Sharma. However, soon thereafter, Yuvraj holed out to Dale Steyn in the deep, off the bowling of Rasool, leaving RCB on 80 for three in 12.2 overs.
AB de Villiers then took guard opposite Kohli, and the pair soon brought up the RCB hundred in the 15th over. Meanwhile, Kohli also brought up his half-century, before he and his batting partner took Darren Sammy for 19 runs off his next over. However, Kohli’s (67) innings came to an end in the 18th over, when he handed Steyn a catch off Irfan Pathan. de Villiers (29) was soon cleaned up by Bhuvneshwar, leaving RCB on 146 for five in 18.1 overs. Sachin Rana (12*) and Mitchell Starc (6) then took the SRH total to 160, until the latter was run-out off the last ball of the innings.
SRH’s response started on a high note with Shikhar Dhawan taking charge of proceedings along with David Warner. They went after the RCB bowlers and brought up the SRH fifty in the sixth over itself, scoring a total of 51 runs in the powerplay. By the halfway stage, the first-wicket pair added 72 runs. Warner then struck three maximums during the span of the next two overs to put SRH in the driver’s seat. Dhawan (50) then reached his fifty in the 13th over – his first half-century of the season. However, the southpaw was run-out shortly after that, leaving SRH on 100 for one in 12.3 overs.
Naman Ojha then paired up with Warner, who brought up his half-century in the 15th over. Even Ojha went after the opposition bowlers by striking a maximum early in his innings. He added 26 runs with Warner (59), who was finally dismissed by Varun Aaron in the 17th over. Aaron Finch was the next man in for SRH with the run-chase equation reading 35 runs off 23 balls. Both Ojha and Finch (11*) kept the scorecard ticking, but were unable to launch much-needed big hits during the next couple of overs.
With two overs to go, SRH still needed 20 runs to scale the 161-run target. Ojha (24) then struck Aaron for a six, after the bowler conceded a couple of singles off the first two deliveries of the 19th over. And while the RCB pacer claimed his wicket off the next ball, Sammy – who walked in at No.5 – struck a first-ball six, followed by a single, to tilt the match in his team’s favour. With four runs required off the final over, Starc conceded a single off the first ball, and followed it up with a dot. But after the next delivery went for a single, Sammy (10*) took his team over the line – with two balls to spare – thanks to a double.
Both teams now have 10 points from 12 games and are currently separated only by their net run-rate on the points table, where RCB occupy the fifth and SRH the sixth spot.
Man of the Match: David Warner for his match-winning half-century
Kings XI Punjab pulled off a last-over four-wicket win against the Delhi Daredevils at Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium. Thanks to the resulting two points, the table-toppers have officially qualified for the Playoffs – becoming the first team to do so this season. Powered by Manan Vohra and Akshar Patel’s innings, the visitors scaled the 165-run target with four wickets in hand and two balls to spare.
Earlier, George Bailey asked DD to take first strike after he won the toss. Kevin Pietersen and Murali Vijay (5) opened the innings for the hosts. And while the DD skipper was on song, his opening partner did not last long as Sandeep Sharma dismissed him in the third over. Dinesh Karthik then joined Pietersen in the middle and the duo went after the opposition bowlers right away. By the end of the powerplay, they took their team’s score to 55 for one. By the halfway stage, DD had posted 84 runs, thanks to the second-wicket pair’s efforts.
However, Pietersen (49) was cleaned up Akshar Patel in the next over. JP Duminy (17), who replaced him, then played second fiddle to Karthik during their valuable 56-run stand. But IPL debutant Beuran Hendricks dismissed his fellow South African in the 17th over. Sandeep Sharma then got rid of Kedar Jadhav (0), who could only manage a golden duck. And just four balls later, the KXIP pacer got his third victim of the night when he dismissed Mayank Agarwal (6). And shortly thereafter, even Karthik’s (69) stellar knock – which comprised seven fours and three maximums – ended as well; Hendricks got rid of him to leave DD on 155 for six in 18.1 overs. Hendricks also got the wicket of compatriot Wayne Parnell (2) later in the same over.
Thanks to a tight final two overs that went for a combined nine runs, KXIP were able to restrict DD to 164 for seven in 20 overs. For the visitors, Sandeep Sharma (3/35) and Hendricks (3/36) were the key wicket-takers, while Akshar Patel bowled a tight spell that saw him concede just 18 runs off his four overs while picking a key wicket.
KXIP’s response was fuelled by some big hitting by Manan Vohra. With the experienced Virender Sehwag holding up one end, the 20-year-old unleashed a flurry of fours and sixes to give his team a big start. Thanks to his exploits, KXIP clocked in 66 runs in the powerplay itself. However, Vohra’s (42) 19-balls blitz came to an end in the very next over, courtesy Imran Tahir. And while Glenn Maxwell walked in next for KXIP, Sehwag (23) could not keep him company for too long; he was sent back to the dugout by Duminy in the eighth over. Even Maxwell (14) did not stick around too long as Tahir cleaned him up, to leave KXIP on 94 for four. And within a space of five balls, the dangerous David Miller (2) also departed; Duminy bowled him out to bring DD back in the contest.
Wriddhiman Saha (13) and Akshar Patel then stitched together a 33-run partnership to keep KXIP in the hunt. But the KXIP wicketkeeper-batsman got out off the bowling of Mohammed Shami off the last ball of the 15th over. With the visitors still 38 runs adrift of the target, their captain, George Bailey came in to bat. By then, Akshar Patel had settled in and he ended up scoring three valuable boundaries off the next over to bring the run-chase equation down to 26 off 24 balls. Although Tahir conceded only five off the next over, thanks to an Akshar Patel six in the 18th over, KXIP were just 11 runs short of the target with two overs to go.
Tahir then returned to dismiss Bailey (6) at a critical juncture. The DD leggie bowled an outstanding 19th over that ended up costing his side just two runs. With KXIP needing nine off the final over, Pietersen handed the ball to Parnell. Akshar Patel (42*) took a single off the first ball of the over, and Rishi Dhawan (8*) followed it up with two back-to-back doubles, leaving the run-chase equation on four off three balls. The KXIP all-rounder then pulled Parnell for a four in the midwicket region to seal a four-wicket win for his side.
Man of the Match: Akshar Patel for his all-round performance