No team had previously won a match so far this season after opting to bat first and it was therefore a surprise when David Warner won the toss and decided his batsmen would strike first. The pitch wasn’t the easiest to bat on; the ball nipped around early on, tended to stop on the pitch towards the latter part of the innings, and spinners got turn when they tossed the ball. Rising Pune Supergiants bowlers exploited the conditions well, bowling the right speeds and generally landing the ball in the right areas.
SRH never came to grips with the conditions and almost all batsmen perished attempting to play their strokes when they should have altered their approach to working their way to a decent total. After David Warner edged a full length delivery from RP Singh to the wicketkeeper in the fourth over, Shikhar Dhawan and Kane Williamson took their time to resurrect the innings. SRH’s second wicket pair added 46 runs over a period of seven overs; while Williamson struggled for timing and for most played within himself, Dhawan mixed caution with aggression. The left-hander perished in the eleventh over, when he attempted to hit Ravichandran Ashwin over the top but only holed out to long on. Dhawan’s 33 – made from 27 balls – would be the top score of the SRH innings.
Yuvraj Singh (23 from 21 balls) entertained briefly, hitting two sixes and a four, before he became the first of Adam Zampa’s six victims. The leg-spinner saw the left-hander advancing and threw his googly just a tad wider, and Yuvraj’s mishit landed in the hands of long-off. In his next over, the leg-spinner dismissed Williamson – who had crawled to 32 from 37 balls, and Moises Henriques off successive deliveries.
RPS captain MS Dhoni held Zampa to bowl the final over of the innings. When the leg-spinner came on, Deepak Hooda deposited him into the stands at midwicket region. But the spinner came back in style, picking up three wickets in the remaining five deliveries to finish with stunning figures of 4-0-16-6. Zampa’s spell was the second-best in the history of IPL, the best by a spinner in the competition and the best by an Australian cricketer in T20 cricket.
Sunrisers Hyderabad finished their twenty overs at 137-8 – possibly 20 runs short of what was assessed as par score. David Warner’s side had scored 34-1, 62-1 and 41-6 in the three stages of the innings. Zampa took the bowling honours for Rising Pune Supergiants, while Ashok Dinda, RP Singh (1-23) and Ashwin did their bit in keeping the pressure on the visitors.
In pursuit of 138, RPS lost their man-in-form Ajinkya Rahane without a run on the board and Usman Khawaja in the fourth over. MS Dhoni pulled a rabbit out of the hat when he sent R Ashwin to bat at number four. The off-spinner, in the company of George Bailey, resurrected the innings with a 49-run partnership. But the loss of three wickets in four overs – including those of the two well-set batsmen - meant SRH were back in the contest.
With Dhoni and the big-hitting Thisara Perera still in the middle, the chase was far from over. But Mustafizur Rahman and Ashish Nehra bowled two terrific overs – the 19th and 20th overs of the innings – to deny the home side. With 22 runs to bowl at, Mustafizur conceded eight runs in the 19th, giving Nehra the cushion of 14 runs. The experienced Nehra then nipped out Perera third ball, after which Yuvraj Singh was alert to the possibility of running out MS Dhoni of the fifth ball. Nehra found the edge of Adam Zampa off the last ball, and RPS were restricted to 133-8.
Nehra was the most successful bowler for SRH, returning figures of 3-29, while Bhuvneshwar Kumar – who was presented the Purple Cap at the end of the match - bowled immaculate lines and lengths in his first spell and had stunning figures of 3-1-5-1 at one stage, before his fourth over cost him 15 runs. Barinder Sran (1-26) and Moises Henriques (1-20) did their bit with the ball too. A mention needs to be made of Naman Ojha, who pulled off two stunners – the catch to dismiss R Ashwin to his left-side and then the catch to dismiss Zampa diving to his right. Had Ojha not pouched the last delivery, the ball would have raced to the boundary and the match would have had to be decided by means of a Super Over.
Sunrisers Hyderabad 137-8 in 20.0 Overs (Shikhar Dhawan 33, Kane Williamson 31, Adam Zampa 6-19) beat Rising Pune Supergiants 133-8 in 20.0 Overs (George Bailey 34, MS Dhoni 30, Ashish Nehra 3-29) by 4 runs.
Man of the Match: Adam Zampa, for his spell of 4-0-19-6.