Sunrisers Hyderabad knocked a final nail into Kings XI Punjab's Pepsi Indian Premier League campaign with a convincing 30-run win at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali on Saturday (May 11). The win came on the back of fine knocks by Parthiv Patel and Thisara Perera that set the platform for Darren Sammy and Dale Steyn to seal an eighth win that took them level with Royal Challengers Bangalore, who are at the fourth spot in the points table, with 16 points.
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On a day where both sides beefed up their bowling attacks, Punjab's knowhow of the local conditions helped them grab the Hyderabad batting line-up by the scruff of their neck. Hyderabad, who haven't had any sort of stability at the top, were reduced to 52 for 5 in nine overs. Sandeep Sharma, making his IPL debut, did bulk of the damage by picking up three wickets.
It took a determined effort from Parthiv (61) and Karan Sharma (22) to lay the platform for a final onslaught that eventually took them to 150 for 7. Parthiv, who batted through to the 19th over, and Karan stitched together a 42-run stand for the sixth wicket and in the process ensured the Hyderabad bowlers had a reasonable total to defend. That they got more than what they would have dreamed of at one stage was made possible courtesy a late-order blitz by Perera, who made the most of a dropped chance by Mandeep Singh on 1. The burly Sri Lankan smashed an unbeaten 19-ball 32 as Hyderabad blasted 74 off the last 7 overs to go into the mid-innings break with momentum on their side.
Steyn was expected to do maximum damage with the ball on a pitch that had a tinge of green and he delivered almost immediately when he dismissed Mandeep for a duck in the first over. Adam Gilchrist and Shaun Marsh upped the ante with an array of aggressive strokes, but Hyderabad found a hero in Sammy. The West Indies Twenty20 captain, who was introduced in the 7th over, ripped through the heart of Punjab's batting order and ended with four wickets, including strikes of Marsh (18) and Gilchrist (26) off consecutive deliveries to start the slide.
When David Miller fell two overs later, Punjab had sunk to 51 for 4, with an inexperienced lower middle-order having to fend for themselves with the asking rate surging past 11 runs an over. Luke Pomersbach scratched around for 40 balls, but with Steyn held back for his final over till the end, Hyderabad had the option of going back to him if Punjab initiated a late charge.
R Sathish gave Punjab a glimmer of hope by smashing Amit Mishra for two sixes and a four in the same over to reduce the equation to 62 off the last 6 overs. But Pomersbach's inability to produce the big shot bottled one end up, making Punjab's task of mounting a final surge towards the victory target next to impossible as they finally ended on 120 for 9.