Sunrisers Hyderabad visited Punjab for the 33rd match of the season and the first one at the PCA Stadium in Mohali this year. It was a belter of a pitch that had plenty of runs on offer and the batsmen made full use of the helpful conditions.
SRH were invited to bat first by the hosts and the openers gave them a brilliant start. The top 3 batsmen David Warner, Shikhar Dhawan and Kane Williamson scored in excess of fifty and powered their way to 207/3 at the end of 20 overs.
In reply, Martin Guptill got off to a flyer but soon three quick dismissals pegged the KXIP back. Shaun Marsh and Eoin Morgan then got together and brought the team back in the chase. Morgan was dismissed in the hunt for quick runs and Marsh was left to fight the lone battle.
The left-hander was timing the ball beautifully and kept his side in the hunt.
The Turning Point
Wickets fell at one end but Marsh held firm, keeping the required run rate within reach. 70 runs were needed off the last five overs, pretty much gettable with the Australian at the crease. The Purple Cap holder Bhuvneshwar Kumar had 2 overs up his sleeve which were going to be crucial.
David Warner realised the importance of Marsh’s wicket and introduced Bhuvi in the 16th over. The batsman sent the first ball to the boundary and two balls later found himself on strike again.
The bowler delivered a knuckle ball and the batsman was early into the heave. The ball sailed high into the night sky and landed into the hands of Deepak Hooda at deep mid-wicket who had dropped the same batsman at the same fielding position earlier.
Marsh was dismissed for a superb 84 off just 50 balls with 14 fours and 2 sixes. With 63 still needed off 26 balls, the lower order batsmen had too big a task at hand and couldn't get the team closer.
How the game panned out
Earlier, the SRH innings began with the openers Warner and Dhawan going after the bowling from the outset. Both the left-handers put up a treat for the fans and played some delightful strokes. Initially, it was Dhawan who was on the attack but the skipper didn’t waste too much time in catching up.
50 runs were on the board in just five overs and a big score was already on the cards. The onslaught from the duo continued until the 10th over when Warner was dismissed by Maxwell for 51 off 27 balls. The opening partnership ended after adding 107 runs and a great platform was set for the batsmen in the dugout.
Kane Williamson walked in at number 3 and was up and running straight away. He didn't spend much time in getting the feel of the pitch and kept the runs flowing. Dhawan though left his company in the 15th over after scoring a magnificent 77 off 48 balls.
Yuvraj Singh didn’t last too long and went back for 15 but Williamson took charge to finish the innings on a high. He collected 20 runs from the penultimate over off Ishant Sharma and finished the last over by getting to his fifty. He ended unbeaten on 54 off 27 balls as SRH posted a massive 207/3.
KXIP’s chase was boosted by the debutant Martin Guptill who collected 4 fours and a six in the first 2 overs and got the innings underway in style. But Bhuvneshwar Kumar ended his stay at the crease and sent him back for 23 off 11 in the 3rd over.
Manan Vohra and Glenn Maxwell departed in quick succession as Punjab were reduced to 42/3 in 5 overs. Marsh and Eoin Morgan were in no mood to give up and inflicted a counter attack on the bowlers.
The duo added 73 runs off 49 balls to revive the hosts’ hopes. Marsh received a lifeline in the 13th over when Deepak Hooda dropped a skier on the boundary. Two balls later, Hooda got another chance, this time it was Morgan who skied one in the same region.
Hooda managed to hold on and Morgan’s knock ended at 26. Rashid Khan ended with superlative figures of 16/1 and brought his side back into the game.
KXIP still had hope as long as Marsh was at the crease. He smashed boundaries all over the park and looked set to take his side to victory. But Bhuvneshwar’s canny bowling removed him in the 16th and ended a masterclass from the Aussie.
Bhuvi ended with two wickets and Ashish Nehra and Siddharth Kaul bagged three scalps apiece. Rashid Khan, for his miserly spell, was adjudged the Man of the Match.
With the victory, SRH affirmed their third position on the points table while KXIP are left languishing at number 6.