The margin of victory may suggest Sunrisers Hyderabad had an easy outing against Kings XI Punjab at Mohali on Saturday (May 11), but in reality that was far from the truth. The Hyderabad top-order, which has looked shaky all tournament, did little to boost its credentials going into the last three games. It required Parthiv Patel's resilient 61 along with cameos from Karan Sharma and Thisara Perera lower down the order to power Hyderabad to 150 for 7.
"It is obvious that batting hasn't been our strong point, but we've shown character from situations of adversity," said Tom Moody, the Hyderabad coach, after his team registered a crucial 30-run win. "Today was Parthiv's turn to put his hand up and hats off to him because it was a very, very mature innings. It was a responsible innings and enabled us to get the total that we got. At one stage, we were staring down the barrel, about 100-110, and his knock made the difference."
The bowlers led by Darren Sammy, who picked up four wickets, and Dale Steyn came into their own to severely dent Punjab's chances of progressing to the playoffs. Hyderabad's eight wins helped them draw level on points with Royal Challengers Bangalore, currently at the fourth spot in the points table.
"I thought our bowlers adjusted particularly well to this track. Conditions were different from what we expected," said Moody. "There was moisture but the wicket didn't have the pace and carry of a Mohali wicket, where when a batsman gets in they get a 180 plus score. Our bowling group adapted well to these conditions and made it difficult for Kings XI to chase down the total."
However, Hyderabad still have some way to go before they can start feeling comfortable about their net-run-rate. But Moody didn't seem too perturbed. "It's about us winning the game of cricket," he shot back. "There are very few second chances leading into the final stages and it's pleasing to walk away with the win. There is no point looking at what other teams are doing, whether they are winning or losing. We know what we need to do and keep winning as many games as possible. Anything beyond ten (wins) is going to be a bonus."
Hyderabad's next two games are against Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals, teams who're placed well above them in the points table, before they round off the league stages against Kolkata Knight Riders at home. Punjab, meanwhile, have a slim mathematical chance with three matches remaining. They play Royal Challengers Bangalore (away) on May 14 before setting off to Dharamsala for their last two home fixtures against Mumbai and Delhi Daredevils.