An all-round performance from Ben Stokes, who was well complemented by Man of the Match Jaydev Unadkat, powered Rising Pune Supergiant to their eighth win of VIVO IPL 2017. After posting a modest 148-8 on a difficult surface at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad, RPS bowled brilliantly and picked up timely wickets to deny the defending champions; SRH were restricted to 136-9 in their run-chase. RPS won the contest by 12 runs and climbed to second place in the eight-team standings.
The hosts got off to a brisk start, with the opening pair of David Warner and Shikar Dhawan perhaps wanting to capitalize on the hard new ball. The latter collected two fours and a six and raced to 19 from 11 balls and SRH were 25 in the first four overs.
Ben Stokes was introduced into the attack in the fifth over, and he struck twice immediately; with his first delivery of the evening, he castled Dhawan, and two balls later had Kane Williamson nicking one to the wicketkeeper. SRH 29 for 2 in 4.3 overs.
Warner and Yuvraj Singh resurrected the innings with a 54-run partnership; Warner feasted on the spin duo of Washington Sundar and Imran Tahir, while Yuvraj collected two boundaries off Shardul Thakur. The pair batted responsibly and ensured the scoreboard ticked away all the time, and by doing that kept a check on the required run rate. When that partnership threatened to take the game away, Stokes returned and struck for a third time; he dished out a wide one, had Warner reaching out to it and holing out to the fielder at sweeper cover.
Yuvraj continued to add runs; in the same over that Warner was dismissed, he hit Stokes for a six straight down the ground, and then kept collecting the singles. The southpaw scored a boundary off Imran Tahir in the sixteenth and tonked Christian for a six over midwicket.
Then came the final twist in the tale. Yuvraj (47 from 43 balls, 4 fours, 2 sixes) was dismissed in a manner similar to his captain; he threw his bat at a wide delivery from Jaydev Unadkat, but didn’t get sufficiently under the ball and holed out to the man running in from the boundary.
Unadkat then polished off the tail, even collecting a last-over hat-trick; the left-armer dismissed Bipul Sharma, Rashid Khan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar off consecutive deliveries to eventually finish with figures of 4-1-30-5.
Earlier in the afternoon, Rising Pune Supergiant struggled to get out of second gear. On a surface which didn’t give the batsmen any pace, RPS had only one big-scoring over in the first half of their innings. The visitors crawled to 35-1 at the end of the powerplay, and added 26 runs in the next four overs to reach 51-1 at the half-way stage. That only one boundary – a six by Ajinkya Rahane in the sixth over – was scored in the first ten overs illustrates the slow pace of scoring.
The first real signs of intent from the RPS batsmen were seen in the eleventh over when Ben Stokes, who batted at number four, hit Bipul Sharma for consecutive sixes. Stokes targeted the left-arm spinner yet again in the thirteenth over and collected a six over long on. The English all-rounder had added 60 runs in the company of captain Steven Smith, but the dismissal of both batsmen in successive overs derailed the innings. Rashid Khan cleaned up Stokes (39 from 25 balls, 1 four, 3 sixes) in the fifteenth over, while Siddarth Kaul dismissed Steve Smith (34 from 39 balls) and Daniel Christian in the sixteenth over.
MS Dhoni (31 from 21 balls) dominated Bhuvneshwar Kumar yet again, hitting the pacer for a four and two consecutive sixes in the nineteenth over to give the innings momentum at the back end. RPS finished their twenty overs at 148-8, having added 97 runs in the back half of the innings – 48 of them in the last five. The entire innings had only five boundaries and six sixes.
SRH were handicapped on the field when Ashish Nehra had to leave the field with a pulled hamstring after bowling 1.1 overs. Siddarth Kaul was the most successful bowler, returning figures of 4-29, while Rashid Khan and Bipul Sharma chipped in with a wicket each.
Rising Pune Supergiant: 148-8 (Ben Stokes 39, Steve Smith 34, Siddarth Kaul 4-29) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad: 136-9 (Yuvraj Singh 47, David Warner 40, Jaydev Unadkat 5-30, Ben Stokes 3-30) by 12 runs.
Man of the Match: Jaydev Unadkat