Hyderabad down Punjab to keep top-two hopes alive

cricket19 May 2024 14:28| © MWP
By:Neil Manthorp
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Sunrisers Hyderabad © PhotoShelter

Abhishek Sharma lashed a quickfire 66 from only 28 balls to lead the Sunrisers Hyderabad to a comfortable victory by four wickets with five balls to spare in their final IPL group match against the Punjab Kings at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Hyderabad on Sunday.

Replying to a formidable total of 214 for five, the Sunrisers lost high-scoring opener Travis Head to the first ball of the run-chase but still galloped to victory, with Abhishek smashing five fours and six sixes and Heinrich Klaasen falling for an excellent 42 from 26 balls with three fours and two sixes.

Rahul Tripathi and Nitish Reddy maintained the Sunrisers’ ‘all or nothing’ approach, belting 33 from 28 balls and 37 from 25 before falling to Harshal Patel (2-49) but only when victory was little more than a formality was there any sign of slowing down for the home side’s batsmen.

Head was used as an ‘impact player’ at the top of the order but lost his off stump to a classic away swinger from left-arm seamer Arshdeep Singh. If anything, it caused the rest of the top order to adopt an even more aggressive approach.

Earlier, Prabhsimran Singh’s stylish 71 led Punjab to a challenging total of 214 for five after choosing to bat first. After a cautious start, he accelerated effectively striking seven sixes and four fours before bottom-edging a sweep against legspinner Vijayakanth Viyaskanth (1-37) onto his pads and into the gloves of Klaasen, who dived forward to take the catch one-handed.

Fellow opener Atharva Taide hammered 46 from 27 balls (5x4, 2x6) but slapped a cut shot to cover point while Rilee Rossouw was in sublime form with 49 scorching runs from only 24 balls with three fours and four sixes before Hyderabad captain, Pat Cummins (1-36) had him well caught on the boundary.

Seamer Nitish Reddy bore the brunt of the onslaught and was surprisingly tasked with bowling the final over despite conceding 20 from his first over. His three overs cost a bruising 54 with Punjab captain, Jitesh Sharma, finishing unbeaten on 32 from just 15 deliveries with a pair of fours and sixes.

The home side will finish in second place if the Rajasthan Royals lose their final match against the Kolkata Knight Riders later tonight. KKR have already secured top place on 19 points even before their final game.

SUNRISERS HYDERABAD: Abhishek Sharma, Nitish Reddy, Rahul Tripathi, Heinrich Klaasen (wkt), Abdul Samad, Shahbaz Ahmed, Sanvir Singh, Pat Cummins (captain), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Vijayakanth Viyaskanth, T Natarajan

PUNJAB KINGS: Prabhsimran Singh, Atharva Taide, Rilee Rossouw, Shashank Singh, Jitesh Sharma (captain/wkt), Ashutosh Sharma, Shivam Singh, Harpreet Brar, Rishi Dhawan, Harshal Patel, Rahul Chahar