Sunrisers Hyderabad trumped Kings XI Punjab by 5 runs in a topsy turvy ride to avoid third straight defeat and rise up to the third position in the standings. Put into bat by Maxwell, Sunrisers managed to reach 159 riding on Warner’s 70. In reply, KIngs XI got all out for 154 with 2 balls to spare. Vohra nearly did it for Punjab with a magnificient 95 off just 50 balls but the star of the match Bhuvneshwar Kumar delivered a magic spell to settle the tide in Hyderabad’s favour.
The pitch at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad was on a slower side with the ball expected to do some “harkat”. Sunrisers got off to a slow start owing to some disciplined bowling by Punjab seamers. Dhawan went early and Warner continued playing a waiting game. Left handed Warner was not timing the ball well and so right handed one came to the fore and Kariappa went for a six and a four. Axar Patel got rid of Henriques and Yuvraj off the first 2 balls of his spell and Warner again went into battery saver mode. Naman Ojha gave the innings some momentum and made 34 off just 20 balls.
Warner completed the 34th 50 of his IPL career with a boundary towards the third man. This IPL, Hyderabad’s strategy has been that the whole team would play around Warner. But that is hampering the natural destructive play of the Australian batsman. Warner ensured that Sunrisers put up a good score on a difficult wicket. Kings XI bowlers maintained good line and length and the fielders complemented them on field (Pran jaye par 4 na jaye). And Ishant Sharma gave away just 23 off 4 overs (yes you read it right).
And then Swing ka Rajkumar, Bhuvneshvar Kumar took over. First ball of the innings, a full inswinger and Amla was trapped in front of the stumps. Maxwell was in a hurry and Bhuvi got him too with a back of a hand slower one and Warner was delighted to hold an easy catch. An Aussie so happy to get rid of another Aussie batsman, this is definitely fixing.
Now it was the turn of Afghan attack. Mohd. Nabi was hit for a six off his first ball of IPL by Morgan (A HIndi commentator quipped “Sar mundvaya aur ole pad gaye”) but in his next over he made a comeback and skittled Morgan’s stumps (Not literally). Rashid Khan, another Afghan wonder bowled Miller and Saha and Hyderabad thought they had it. Next over, Nabi had Vohra plumb in front (middle of middle stump) but umpire thought otherwise.
Manan Vohra then played an innings of his lifetime. He showed how to play the mysterious Rashid Khan. Two pulls for a six and a four, a biggie straight over the head of Rashid and a boundary off the last ball of Khan’s spell and game turned on its head. Wickets were falling on the other end but Vohra kept Punjab’s hopes alive. On a wicket where even the quality batsman like Warner were struggling to time the ball, Vohra played with an impeccable confidence.
With 15 needed off 10 and Vohra on strike, Punjab sniffed the win. But then Bhuvi came up with a gem of a yorker and even Warner standing on long on knew that it was out (This time umpire gave it right, hard to believe). Bhuvneshwar Kumar finished with figures of 5 for 19 off 4 overs. Siddharth Kaul completed the proceedings in the last over and the famed bowling line-up of Hyderabad lived upto the expectations to successfully defend an average score.