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A David Warner solo effort helped Sunrisers Hyderabad defeat the Gujarat Lions by four wickets in Qualifier 2 and earn a passage to the VIVO IPL 2016 Final. Set to chase 163, SRH were powered by their captain, who finished with an unbeaten 93 and got the job done. Warner picked up boundaries in each of the first five overs and raced to 25 from 18 balls. By that time though, he had already lost the company of Shikhar Dhawan and Moises Henriques. Before the halfway mark, Yuvraj Singh had also returned to the dressing room, having picked out the long off fielder after scoring 8.
The SRH skipper took it upon himself to do the job for his team. Despite wickets falling at the other end, the Australian played his natural game; he continued to find the boundaries regularly. He had hit seven boundaries and a six by the time he reached his half-century in the eleventh over. He didn’t get too much of the strike in the next few overs, but when he did, he generally found the boundary and ensured the required run rate was kept in check. In the thirteenth over, he deposited one into the stand at midwicket, and in the fifteenth over put away Dwayne Smith for a six and a boundary off consecutive deliveries.
Warner found an able ally in Bipul Sharma after Naman Ojha had played a reckless shot to hole out to midwicket in the sixteenth over. Together, Warner and Sharma, added 46 runs in 3.3 overs to take their team past the finish line; the latter was the dominant partner in the partnership, contributing 27 from 11 balls (studded with three sixes), while Warner contributed 19 from 10 balls. Apart from hitting the boundaries and sixes, the pair also scampered between the wickets like hares to pick up five braces. The SRH skipper remained undefeated on 93; he hit 11 boundaries and three sixes in his 58-ball outing. SRH got past the target with four balls to spare, with the skipper fittingly scoring the winning runs.
For the Gujarat Lions, the chinaman bowler Shivil Kaushik was the best bowler; he and Dwayne Bravo picked up two wickets each, while Dwayne Smith accounted for the wicket of Moises Henriques.
Earlier in the evening, put in to bat, the Gujarat Lions’ struggles with their top-order continued. After losing opener Eklavya Dwivedi and skipper Suresh Raina for single-digit scores, the Gujarat Lions got to a competitive total, thanks mainly to Aaron Finch’s timely half-century. The Australian, who was dismissed for single-digit scores in his last two innings, walked out to bat in the ninth over with his team at 63 for 3. He hit a four and a six early on before Barinder Sran put down a regulation opportunity in the twelfth over.
Finch made SRH pay for that lapse in the outfield, scoring his fifth half-century of the season. When he was given width, he slapped the ball through the off-side, and on one occasion swung his bat hard to deposit the ball into the stands beyond long off. When the bowlers banged the ball in short, he stood back in the crease and muscled the ball through the leg-side. On one occasion, he deposited the ball into the stands at midwicket and one one other occasion he upper cut the ball to the thirdman boundary. He got to 50 with the aid of seven boundaries and two sixes. In the 18th over, he charged down the ground and attempted to hit one out of the ground, but only managed to drag the full toss from Ben Cutting on to his pads and onto his stumps.
Finch had good company from Ravindra Jadeja, who remained unbeaten on 19 (15 balls); the sixth wicket pair added 51 runs in 4.5 overs and were chiefly responsible in taking the Lions past the 150-run mark. Brendon McCullum (32 from 29 balls), Dinesh Karthik (26 from 19 balls) and Dwayne Bravo (20 from 10 balls) were the other noteworthy contributors. The Gujarat Lions finished with 162-7; they scored 38-2 in the Powerplay overs, 71-3 in the middle nine overs and finished with a flourish, adding 53-2 in the final five.
For Sunrisers Hyderabad, who were without the injured Mustafizur Rahman, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ben Cutting picked up two wickets apiece, while Trent Boult – playing his first match of the season – and Bipul Sharma picked up a wicket each.
Brief Score Gujarat Lions 162-7 in 20.0 Overs (Brendon McCullum 32, Dinesh Karthik 26, Aaron Finch 50, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 2-27, Ben Cutting 2-20) lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad 163-6 in 19.2 Overs (David Warner 93*, Shivil Kaushik 2-22, Dwayne Bravo 2-32) by 4 wickets.
Man of the Match: David Warner, for his match-winning 93*.
Sunrisers Hyderabad had the last laugh over the Kolkata Knight Riders. SRH had lost to KKR twice in the league season, but in the game that mattered most – in the Eliminator of VIVO IPL 2016 – they came up triumphant. SRH will thank their bowlers for a clinical performance, which saw them restrict KKR – in pursuit of 163 – to 140-8. The 22-run victory means SRH have set up a date with the Gujarat Lions and will now contest in Qualifier 2 on Friday night.
SRH did the basics right in their defense; the bowlers bowled in the right areas and built the pressure, the fielders held on to the catches that came their way and even converted the half-chances to wickets. Yuvraj Singh effected a brilliant run out, after which Bhuvneshwar Kumar and substitute Vijay Shankar held on to difficult catches in the outfield, to help build pressure during KKR’s chase.
Despite losing Robin Uthappa early in the chase, Gautam Gambhir and Colin Munro resurrected KKR’s chase with a steady partnership. When the pair were going about accumulating runs, striking the odd boundary, it appeared KKR were in control of proceedings and would easily overhaul the target. But a risky bit of running, which resulted in the run out of Munro turned the match on its head. Gambhir dabbed the ball to point and took off for a sharp single, not aware that Yuvraj Singh was already swooping in on the ball; Yuvraj picked up the ball and hit the target bull’s eye, while off balance, to catch Munro short of his ground. The score then was 53 for 2 at the end of seven overs; KKR could only add 87 runs in the remaining 13 overs and therefore fell short of the target.
There was only one other partnership for KKR, and that came too late. Manish Pandey and Suryakumar Yadav, who got together in the eleventh over, added 46 runs in five overs to take their team closer. But once Yadav (23 from 15 balls) miscued a short delivery and holed out to the fielder at square-leg, it was almost curtains. Pandey’s dismissal for 36 – in the 18th over – was the final nail in the coffin. KKR finished their twenty overs at 140-8.
For SRH, the bowlers were outstanding yet again – especially at a time when it mattered; the match hung in the balance after 15 overs, when KKR were 110-4 and needed 53 runs. That’s when Henriques, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mustafizur Rahman stepped up. Bhuvneshwar was the most successful bowler for SRH, returning with figures of 3-19 and taking the Purple Cap for becoming the top wicket-taker of the season, while Henriques (2-17), Cutting and Sran shared the rest of the spoils. A special mention needs to be made of Mustafizur, who was spectacular in the death; the lad from Bangladesh got his yorkers spot on and finished with tidy figures of 0-28.
Earlier in the evening, Sunrisers Hyderabad started cautiously, established momentum through the innings and finished with a flourish. They finished their twenty overs at 162-8; this, despite losing wickets at regular intervals and none of the batsmen going on to post a big score. After losing Shikhar Dhawan in the second over, SRH got back on track through a 59-run stand between skipper David Warner and Moises Henriques, with the latter being the dominant contributor. However the dismissal of both the well-set batsmen in the tenth over meant SRH had to start all over again; Henriques was dismissed for 31 (21 balls, 1 four & 2 sixes), while Warner made a run-a-ball 28.
Yuvraj Singh chose the day to make his biggest contribution with the bat this season. On a two-paced pitch where the rest of the batsmen struggled, Yuvraj timed the ball beautifully; he hit one six straight over the sightscreen and muscled the ball to the leg-side boundary on several occasions. He made 44 and was involved in a 49-run stand with Deepak Hooda (21 from 13 balls). When the pair were in the middle, SRH appeared to be on course for a total in the region of 180. But Hooda ran himself out (yet again) in the 16th over and Ben Cutting charged out blindly first ball to be stumped by a mile two balls later.
Yuvraj himself was dismissed in the nineteenth over when he walked across to the off side and attempted to improvise, but lost his stumps. Bipul Sharma (14* from 6 balls) hit two sixes in the final over to help his team finish with a flourish. SRH added 64 runs in the final six overs to post 162-8.
For KKR, Kuldeep Yadav was the most successful bowler; the chinaman bowler dismissed Warner and Henrqiues with consecutive deliveries, then added the wicket of Cutting to his tally to finish with figures of 3-35. Morne Morkel dismissed Dhawan upfront and then returned to dismiss Bhuvneshwar Kumar, while Jason Holder accounted for Yuvraj Singh and Naman Ojha. Yusuf Pathan, who began proceedings with the new ball, was the most economical bowler, conceding only 17 runs in the three overs he bowled within the Powerplay overs.