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MOHALI: Unfancied Sunrisers Hyderabad made another surge towards a last-four slot as they bested Kings XI Punjab by 30 runs on Saturday, in the process further jeopardizing the chances of the losing side to stay in contention for the play-offs.
With 16 points, Hyderabad are now at No.5 on the points table, close on the heels of Royal Challengers Bangalore, who also have as many points, but a superior run-rate. All the top five teams have three games each remaining.
At the PCA Stadium, after Parthiv Patel (61) and Thisara Perera (32*) pulled Hyderabad to 150/7 batting first, Darren Sammy took out the three most invaluable cogs in Punjab’s line-up, and deprived the chase of any momentum.
Sammy dismissed Aussies Adam Gilchrist (26) and Shaun Marsh (18) – off consecutive deliveries – and then claimed the mercurial South African all-rounder David Miller (6) to leave the home team floundering on 51/4 inside of ten overs.Dale Steyn's express pace had earlier made short work of opener Mandeep Singh in the first over.
Although Luke Pomersbach (33* and hitherto more famous for his off-the-field activities) and Rajagopalan Sathish (25) made a fist of it – they were helped no doubt by a spate of dropped catches – the requirement escalated by the ball, and was soon in the region of the unattainable: Kings XI finished on 120/9 as wickets fell in a cascade.
Hyderabad's innings comprised two parts. The first belonged to debutant fast bowler Sandeep Sharma who took out three at the top to leave Hyderabad in their usual state of collapse. Sharma's strikes – Hanuma Vihari (4), Craig White (8) and Biplab Samantray (0) – left the line-up in tatters, more so as they were preceded by the dismissal of the Sunrisers’ top-billed batsman, Shikhar Dhawan, caught and bowled by Harmeet Singh for 14.
Piyush Chawla compounded matters by trapping Darren Sammy leg-before with a googly, and the visiting side were on an unenviable 56/5 at the halfway mark. The next ten overs were to gain them 94 under the able guidance of Parthiv, whose alliances with Karan Sharma (42 added in 37 balls) and Perera (48 in 25) were to prove crucial.
Perera was dropped by Mandeep off Chawla when he had scored one. The lapse turned out to be a costly one as the Lankan all-rounder smashed 32 in just 19 balls, inclusive of two telling sixes against the pacers Praveen Kumar and Parvinder Awana.
The baby-faced Parthiv, meanwhile, had gone all along at an even pace and reached fifty in 44 balls. The personal landmark attained, he too launched into Harmeet, but was run out in the same over, the penultimate of the innings, but having completed the job at hand.