Needing to score at nine runs per over, the Sunrisers were brisk at the beginning of their chase, with the opening pair of Warner and Shikhar Dhawan setting a sound platform. Warner interspersed his big shots with plenty of singles and not surprisingly dominated the opening partnership; he contributed 40 runs in the 68-run opening stand, while Dhawan picked up boundaries every now and then, but ensured he was always a run-a-ball. The KXIP bowlers seemed to have run out of ideas to dismiss the openers, when a piece of brilliance in the field in the eighth over put the lid on Dhawan’s innings; Mohit Sharma fired in a rocket throw from wide long-on and hit the stumps direct to catch Dhawan (25 from 22 balls) short of his ground.
Warner carried on and looked good for another big score. But against the run of play, in the thirteenth over, he trod onto his stumps – becoming the third SRH batsman to be dismissed ‘Hit Wicket’ this season - and had to walk back for 52 (41 balls, 5 fours, 1 six). Sunrisers’ decision to send in Deepak Hooda at number three clicked too, as the youngster made 34 from 22 balls, aided with three fours and a six. The 21-year old played a mature hand in stitching together partnerships of 29 and 42 with Warner and Yuvraj Singh respectively. But his dismissal in the 16th over – when he holed out to David Miller at midwicket – put the match in the balance yet again.
That’s when Yuvraj Singh took control of proceedings and saw his team past the finish line. The left-hander singled out Mohit Sharma for punishment; he hit the KXIP quick for a six and a four at the start of the eighteenth over to bring the required rate under control. And then again, when the bowler came on to bowl the final over – with 9 runs to defend – Yuvraj killed to contest in the first ball when he bludgeoned the ball into the stands at midwicket. The left-hander finished unbeaten on 42, made from 24 balls and studded with three fours and as many sixes. Ben Cutting (21 from 11 balls) hit the winning runs as Sunrisers Hyderabad got across the line with two balls to spare.
Earlier in the evening, on a pitch on which the ball stopped on occasions and stroke-making was difficult, Hashim Amla batted beautifully to pilot his team to 179-4. He started off playing proper cricket strokes; he was fluent through the off-side and down the ground, and played several eye-candy drives and cuts. He made use of the depth of the crease, judged the pace of the bowlers and the pitch perfectly, played late and pierced the field to perfection on most occasions. He brought up his maiden IPL half-century in the eleventh over – needing 30 balls to get to the milestone.
Amla opened up thereafter and improvised on occasions to pick up boundaries; he played the ramp shot, used the paddle shot and scooped the ball into the fine-leg boundary too. The 33-year old had the chance to score his maiden T20 century, but perished on 96 when he didn’t get sufficiently under the ball while attempting to hit the ball over long-off and found David Warner manning the boundary. Amla had consumed 56 balls and struck 14 fours and two sixes before he was dismissed with two balls remaining in the innings.
The South African was involved in useful partnerships all along the way; he added 33 with Murali Vijay, 54 with Wriddhiman Saha, 64 with Gurkeerat Singh and 21 with David Miller, who all made useful contributions with the bat. KXIP added 51 in their first seven overs, 51 in the next six and 77 in the final seven overs to get to 179-4.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who accounted for the wickets of Amla and Gurkeerat, was Sunrisers Hyderabad’s most successful bowler. Mustafizur Rahman (132) and Moises Henriques (1-29) were the other wicket-takers. Karn Sharma, who was included in the XI in place of Barinder Sran, bowled tidily too, conceding only 26 runs in his four overs. The Sunrisers had to alter their plans midway through the innings after Ashish Nehra, after bowling five deliveries in his third over, pulled up with what appeared to be a calf injury.
Kings XI Punjab 179-4 in 20.0 Overs (Hashim Amla 96, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 2-32) lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad 183-3 in 19.4 Overs (David Warner 52, Yuvraj Singh 42*)
Man of the Match: Hashim Amla, for his 56-ball 96.