Sunrisers Hyderabad seem to have cultivated a habit of getting out of jail. After defending 118 quite convincingly in their previous match in Mumbai, the SRH bowlers once again came to the fore as they defended a meagre total against Kings XI Punjab on Thursday night. After posting a below-par 132-6 batting first at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad, the Sunrisers came back strongly to bowl out the visitors for 119. SRH won the match by 13 runs and climbed to second in the VIVO IPL 2018 standings.
KL Rahul and Chris Gayle gave KXIP the perfect start to their run-chase – adding 55 in 7.5 overs. But both openers were dismissed in quick succession and the wheels came off the run-chase in spectacular fashion. From 55-0, KXIP slipped to 96-7 – losing seven wickets for 41 runs, and were eventually bowled out for 119 in 19.2 overs.
Kane Williamson’s moves worked like a charm; every time he wanted a wicket, his bowlers gave him one. Rashid Khan was SRH’s most successful bowler with figures of 3-19 from his four overs, while three others – Sandeep Sharma, Basil Thampi and Shakib al Hasan – chipped in with two wickets each.
In the evening, Manish Pandey was chiefly responsible for Sunrisers Hyderabad getting as far as 132-8. The Karnataka batsman walked out to bat after the openers were dismissed in the first three overs; he dropped anchor and helped himself to his 11th IPL half-century. It wasn’t the most fluent innings one has seen from him, instead was more a workman-like effort, and definitely an extremely important knock for his team. The 28-year old was put down thrice – on 4, 9 & 44 – and he capitalised on the opposition’s largesse to finish with 54, made from 51 balls. Pandey’s innings contained three boundaries and a six; he reached his half-century off 48 balls in what would be the joint-slowest innings by a Sunrisers batsman.
After slipping to 27-3 in five overs, the SRH innings was resurrected by a 52-run partnership for the fourth wicket; Pandey found an ally in Shakib-al-Hasan (28 from 29 balls), and the pair kept the visitors’ bowlers at bay for nearly nine overs.
Pandey’s vigil ended in the final over when he was castled by Ankit Rajpoot. Yusuf Pathan’s unbeaten 21, made from 19 balls, was the only noteworthy contribution in the SRH innings.
Cut to the chase, Rahul and Gayle were quick off the blocks, adding 44 in the first six overs. Rahul played some exquisite strokes – there were drives, flicks, pulls and even one sweep – as he raced to 29 from 21 by the time the fielding restrictions were relaxed. Three runs later, he played down the wrong line to a Rashid Khan delivery that knocked back his off pole. Gayle hit a boundary and two sixes before he top-edged an attempted pull – the ball came off the surface quicker than he expected – and the bowler Basil Thampi ran across and held on to a skier; the Jamaican made 23 from 22 balls.
Then the collapse. Several of the KXIP batsmen played shots they would not want to see ever again. One got the impression one after another, the KXIP batsmen in the middle left it for the next one to complete the job. Karun Nair’s 13 was the highest score in the rest of the line-up. KXIP lost 47-5 in the middle nine overs and another 28-5 at the death to be bowled out for 119.
Standout bowling performance
Rashid Khan only picked up three wickets in this match – but his performance had a huge impact on the outcome. The leg-spinner delivered a beauty – one that pitched on off and straightened to go past the outside edge of Rahul’s bat and crash into the off-stump. His second wicket would be that of Karun Nair, who didn’t pick the googly and played the wrong line to be trapped LBW. Rashid’s final victim was the KXIP captain R Ashwin, who was caught in the outfield.
Earlier in the evening, Ankit Rajpoot delivered the most complete performance to destroy the hosts. With the new ball, he dismissed Williamson (done in by extra bounce), Shikhar Dhawan (done in by movement off the surface) and Wriddhiman Saha (caught at midwicket). He improved on his first-spell numbers – which read 3-0-9-3 – when he returned to bowl the final over of the innings; he dismissed Pandey with the perfect middle stump yorker and had Mohammad Nabi caught off the last ball of the innings. Rajpoot’s final analysis read 4-0-14-5, and his innings had a total of 17 dot deliveries.
Notable Support Act – Bowling
Mujeeb ur Rahman was yet again at the top of his game. The mystery spinner from Afghanistan bowled 11 dot balls in four overs, and finished with returns of 1-17. Young Mujeeb bowled all of his deliveries to Manish Pandey, Shakib al Hasan and Yusuf Pathan – players who have grown up playing spin – yet did not concede a single boundary in his spell.
Stat of the Match
In low-scoring matches and a game decided by small margins, the Sunrisers Hyderabad bowlers did not bowl a single No Ball or Wide Ball. In contrast, KXIP conceded 6 runs through bowling extras.
Sunrisers Hyderabad 132-6 (Manish Pandey 54, Shakib al Hasan 28, Ankit Rajpoot 5-14) beat
Kings XI Punjab 119 in 19.2 overs (KL Rahul 32, Chris Gayle 23, Rashid Khan 3-19, Basil Thampi 2-14, Shakib al Hasan 2-18) by 13 runs
Man of the Match:
Ankit Rajpoot, for his spell of 4-0-14-5