Sunrisers Hyderabad reserved their berth in the VIVO IPL 2017 Playoffs after they defeated the Gujarat Lions by eight wickets at the Green Park Stadium on Saturday evening. Having bowled out the hosts Gujarat Lions for 154 earlier in the afternoon, SRH chased down the runs riding on half-centuries from David Warner and Vijay Shankar and their unbeaten 133-run partnership. The win – SRH’s eighth of the season, plus the one point from their washed-out match against RCB, means SRH will finish the league season with 17 points – sufficient to ensure they finish among the top four teams.
In the afternoon, Sunrisers Hyderabad captain David Warner won the toss and opted to chase – perhaps influenced by the Gujarat Lions’ dismal record when batting first and by the fact that teams chasing had won all the previous matches at the venue.
The home team’s openers – Dwayne Smith and Ishan Kishan – did not mind having the opportunity to bat first on an excellent batting track and came out attacking. Firing from both ends, the Gujarat Lions raced to 61/0 by the time the powerplay overs had been bowled. The youngster Kishan was the more aggressive of the openers, scoring 34 from 16 balls before the field restrictions had been eased, while Smith scored 26 from 20 balls.
The left-right pair did not take the foot off the pedal even after the field was spread. Kishan hit Siddarth Kaul for a six in the seventh over and deposited Rashid Khan into the stands in the ninth over to bring up his maiden IPL half-century. Smith too joined in, hitting the Afghan leg-spinner for a six and four off consecutive deliveries. The pair brought up the century of the partnership in the tenth over and extended it further, before Nelson struck. With the score at 111, Smith didn’t pick a slider from Rashid Khan and was trapped plumb in front of the stumps; he made 54 (7 fours, 2 sixes) from 33 balls.
Kishan was the second to perish when he top-edged a pull which was caught by the wicketkeeper running across to where short fine-leg would have been; the left-hander, who was brutal on anything short and scored the bulk of his runs playing the pull shot, was dismissed for 61 (40 balls, 5 fours, 4 sixes). 120-2 at this stage – after 12.4 overs, the Lions collapsed in a heap thereafter, losing the next 8 wickets for 34 runs in a period of 6.4 overs. Ravindra Jadeja, who walked out to bat at number six, remained unbeaten on 20 from 14 balls. The Gujarat Lions did not bat out their entire 20 overs; they lost two wickets in an over on four occasions and were bowled out for 154 in 19.2 overs.
For SRH, Mohammad Nabi applied the brakes initially and returned as the most-economical bowler, while the rewards were reaped by Mohammed Siraj (4/32), Rashid Khan (3/34) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2/25).
In their chase, Sunrisers Hyderabad were quick off the blocks, but suffered a mini collapse when Shikhar Dhawan (18 from 11 balls) and Moises Henriques were dismissed by Praveen Kumar in the third over. But skipper Warner, who played an uncharacteristic-yet-mature innings given the team’s needs, and Vijay Shankar, put the chase back on track. Warner wasn’t fluent to begin with, but persevered and anchored the chase; the left-hander had a run-a-ball 16 at the end of the powerplay, and brought up his half-century in the thirteenth over, consuming 41 balls to get to the milestone. Vijay Shankar, who was dropped by Dinesh Karthik when on 6, brought up his maiden IPL half-century sixteenth over, needing 35 balls to get to the milestone. The pair extended their partnership to 133 – SRH’s best-ever 3rd wicket partnership, and took their team over the line in the 19th over. Warner remained unbeaten on 69 (52 balls, 9 fours), while Vijay Shankar walked back with 63 (44 balls, 9 fours) against his name.
Gujarat Lions: 154 in 19.2 Overs (Ishan Kishan 61, Dwayne Smith 54, Mohammed Siraj 4-32, Rashid Khan 3-34) lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad: 158-2 in 18.1 overs (David Warner 69*, Vijay Shankar 63*, Praveen Kumar 2-22) by 8 wickets.
Man of the Match: Mohammed Siraj
End of season stats for Gujarat Lions:
Season Summary | Matches played – 14, Won – 4, Lost – 10
Top run-getter | Suresh Raina (442 runs)
Top wicket-taker | Andrew Tye (12 wickets)