Hyderabad, April 19 (IANS) Three huge sixes by Thisara Perera in the 19th over sealed a five-wicket victory for Sunrisers Hyderabad against Kings XI Punjab in their Pepsi Indian Premier League (IPL) match at Rajiv Gandhi international stadium here Friday night.
Perera (23 off 11 balls) helped the home team achieve the 124 target with seven balls remaining. The Sri Lankan and local boy Ashish Reddy scored unbeaten 30 off 16 deliveries.
With this victory, Sunrisers now top the points table with 10 points from seven games. This was also the third straight win for them at the home ground.
Hanuma Vihari, who was the top scorer with 46, played a key role in the Sunrisers' win.
The home team had a disastrous start losing the first wicket in the first over with no score on the board. Quinton de Kock, playing his second match as Kumar Sangakkara preferred to sit out for the second consecutive game, was bowled as he attempted to flick away Praveen Kumar's
However, Vihari, who joined Akshath Reddy, stabilised the innings and kept the score board ticking with ones and twos. Vihari played some delightful strokes including two successive boundaries off Piyush Chawla in the seventh over of the inning.
They added 48 runs for the second wicket before Reddy was sent back by Manpreet Gony. Azhar Mahmood took a one-hand catch when the opener tried to hit over the mid-wicket.
Vihari continued his good show but was unlucky to miss his half-century as Chawla had him caught at short-cover by Hussey. The 19-year-old struck five boundaries in his 46 off 39 balls. It was the highest score by any Sunrisers batsman this season. The previous best 44 was also scored by Vihari against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the same ground early this month.
Skipper Cameron White (16 off 23) seemed to be in good nick. He tried to keep the required rate under control but Gony struck a vital blow in the 16th over by uprooting his stumps.
The next over saw Mahmood sending back Biplab Samantray (10 off 12). The Pakistani conceded just two runs in that over to keep up the pressure on the home side.
Requiring 25 off last three overs, Sunrisers scored seven in the 18th over with local boy Ashish Reddy hitting Gony for a four.
Perera hoisted Mahmood for three huge sixes in the next over to loud cheers from over 20,000 crowd as the home team sealed a victory with 1.1 overs to spare.
Earlier, Punjab's poor run with the batting in the season continued with their batsmen once again failing to score big. The visitors, who won the toss and decided to bat, had a dramatic collapse in the last four overs losing five wickets with the addition of just 21 runs.
Looking set for a score of 140 at 104 for five in 17th over, they were reduced to 115 for nine in the 19th over.
Mishra, who bagged the wickets of Azhar Mahmood and Manan Vohra, missed his fourth hat-trick in the IPL and the second in the sixth season. With 11 wickets, he became the highest wicket-taker in the current season.
Karan Sharma with 19 for two, Ishant Sharma 29 for two and Dale Steyn 14 for one restricted the opposition.
Punjab made a cautious start with the first boundary coming in the third over when Manpreet Singh greeted Ishant Sharma with a hit to the deep-square leg fence.
However, Ishant hit back in the same over. The Punjab opener tried to pull away a short-of-length ball but a top edge was caught by wicket keeper de Kock. Captain Adam Gilchrist (26 off 25 balls) was however in an aggressive mode as he smashed Perera for three boundaries in his first over.
Sounding his return to the form, the Australian smashed a boundary through covers of Perera's very first delivery and played two more aggressive shots over mid-wicket. However, he did not last long as he was caught at mid-wicket while trying to loft Karan Sharma, who dealt another blow to Punjab one ball later by removing Paul Valthaty.
Returning to the side, Valthaty (6 off 17 balls) had a disappointing start to the season. Sent as a pinch-hitter, Chawla blasted Sharma for two mighty sixes, one over deep square leg and the second over the bowler's head. Before that over, Sharma had conceded only five runs
and took two wickets in two overs.
In the next over, Chawla also lifted Mishra for a boundary over long-on. The blows gave some momentum to Punjab, whose batsmen otherwise struggled to score off the spinners. Hussey also played some attractive strokes including a six over mid-wicket off Ishant Sharma. The two added 40 runs for the fourth wicket before Chawla (23 off 15) found himself short of crease in the 15th over.
Hussey (22 off 24 balls) was the next to go as he tried to lift Ishant Sharma but was caught at mid-wicket by Akshath Reddy in his second attempt. The visitors lost three wickets in the 18th over.
In the next over, Steyn cleaned up Gurkeerat Singh as Punjab lost four wicket in as many balls. That over by Steyn went for just two runs. Perera conceded only five runs in the last over of the inning to restrict Punjab to 123 for nine.