Third-placed Sunrisers Hyderabad took on the Kings XI Punjab at the latter’s own den at Mohali and literally batted them out of the match. The 26-run win took SRH to within one point of the second-placed Mumbai Indians, with 11 points from 9 games. KXIP, meanwhile, suffered their fifth defeat in 8 games, their net run-rate taking a beating as well.
Kings XI Punjab won the toss and chose to field first. SRH made full use of the good batting track, their openers giving them a great start. David Warner scored his sixth successive IPL half-century against KXIP while Dhawan top-scored with a 48-ball 77 that included 9 fours and a six. The end-overs push came from Kane Williamson, who scored an unbeaten 27-ball 54 to take SRH to 207.
KXIP faltered early in the colossal chase but a 73-run fourth wicket partnership between Eoin Morgan (26) and Shaun Marsh (84) kept them in the game. Marsh played a blinder of an innings, a 50-ball 84 with 14 fours and 2 sixes and looked set to take KXIP home single-handedly. He was dropped by none other than David Warner in the 15th over when he was on 75, his second life after Deepak Hooda had dropped him earlier.
In the 16th over, Warner made an excellent decision to bring his strike-bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar back into the attack instead of keeping him for the end overs. Bhuvi was creamed for a four off the first ball but like Brett Lee predicted perfectly on air, he floated up a well-disguised knuckle ball on the fourth delivery of the over. Marsh looked to drag it over cow-corner but could only sky it to Deepak Hooda at deep midwicket, who managed to hang on despite a bobble.
Hooda had dropped Marsh earlier when the latter was on 56. This catch would have come as a relief to him, even though he had earlier taken an excellent catch to get rid of Eoin Morgan.
Marsh was dismissed for 84 with KXIP requiring 64 from 26 balls. That over was game-set-match for SRH. Had Warner kept the Purple Cap holder back, Marsh could have taken KXIP closer to the target. He had already shown signs of exploding when he creamed Siddharth Kaul for 17 runs in the 15th over. The Morgan-Marsh duo had also smashed Moises Henriques for a six and three fours a couple of overs earlier.
KXIP were 146 for 6 after Marsh’s dismissal but had nothing left in the tank. They could only crawl to 181 for 9, losing the game by 26 runs.
The defeat has pushed their net run-rate to -0.448, which means they are sixth on the table, despite having the same number of points as Gujarat Lions – 6 – from 8 matches. They could go further down if Delhi Daredevils win their next game as they too will have 6 points but with a better run-rate than Gujarat Lions.