Klaasen, spinners standout as SRH marches into final

Cummins operated spinners at both ends and that paid off as Abhishek got rid of the dangerous Shimron Hetmyer, who had come in as an impact sub.
Sun risers hyderabad win the play off match against RR and enters final.
Sun risers hyderabad win the play off match against RR and enters final.(Photo| Express/ Ashwin prasath)

CHENNAI: Left-arm spinner Shahbaz Ahmed's 3 for 23 and Heinrich Klaasen's valuable 50 paved the way for Sunrisers Hyderabad to defeat Rajasthan Royals by 36 runs in the Qualifier 2 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium here on Friday and storm into the IPL final. Hyderabad will meet Kolkata Knight Riders in the final on Sunday.

Shahbaz was aided in his task by Abhishek Sharma, who picked up two wickets for 24 runs. Hyderabad team's self-belief and ability to fight helped them secure this creditable victory.

Pat Cummins' experience of leading Australia came in handy as he employed his spinners, Shahbaz and Abhishek, at both ends. This proved to be a masterstroke as Rajasthan middle-order were undone by the slower bowlers. The duo bowled five overs at a stretch and accounted for four wickets giving away just 24 runs, which played a massive part in Hyderabad's win.

Set a target of 176 for victory, Rajasthan openers Yashasvi Jaiswal and Tom Kohler-Cadmore opted for a cautious approach. While the duo were comfortable playing Bhuvneshwar Kumar, they were tentative against Cummins. The Australian captain hit the deck in the right areas and was able to extract good bounce and carry.

In one such moment, Kohler-Cadmore failed to time the ball adequately and skied to Rahul Tripathi at cover.

After that, Jaiswal and Rajasthan captain Sanju Samson scored runs briskly. Jaiswal, who is part of the Indian team for the upcoming World Cup, used his feet well both against the seamers and spinners. He scored 19 runs off a Bhuvneshwar over to show his intent.

Just when it seemed like he'd go on to score big, he fell to the guile of Shahbaz. Jaiswal came down the track, looking to clear Shahbaz. However, he miscued it straight to Abdul Samad at long off. This created a ripple effect as Rajasthan lost three key wickets in quick succession. Samson was the next batter to be sent back after trying an ambitious shot against Abhishek. Riyan Parag, who has had a good season, could not last long either as he fell to Shahbaz. Three balls later, R Ashwin was deceived by a length delivery from Shahbaz. Ashwin looked to cut the delivery but he could only edge it to Klassen, who was behind the stumps.

Cummins operated spinners at both ends and that paid off as Abhishek got rid of the dangerous Shimron Hetmyer, who had come in as an impact sub. It was all but over for Rajasthan then. Dhruv Jurel did very well to put up a brave effort (unbeaten 56 off 35) but that was not enough as Rajasthan fell short of the target by 36 runs.

Earlier, New Zealand speedster Trent Boult (3 for 45) and Avesh Khan (3 for 27) put up an impressive show with the ball to help Rajasthan Royals to restrict Sunrisers Hyderabad to 175 for 9 in 20 overs.

On a tricky new wicket, Hyderabad faced an early setback after being asked to bat first by Rajasthan skipper Samson. After racing to 12 off 5 balls, Abhishek was sent back by Boult in the final delivery of the opening over. He had already hit a four and a six before a reckless shot that led to his downfall.

His replacement, Tripathi, looked in ominous touch as he was dealing in fours and sixes, helping Hyderabad keep up the net run-rate. His good touch was evident when he swept ace spinner Ashwin, who had opened with the new ball alongside Boult, to the fence. Tripathi struck the off-spinner for two back-to-back fours and a six that drew loud cheers from the crowd. Tripathi was handing the same treatment to Boult but the latter had the last laugh.

Just as Tripathi was looking to take the game away from Rajasthan, Boult struck again as he was dismissed after scoring 37 off 15 balls. Tripathi's intended upper cut off a slower one from Boult ended up straight into the hands of Yuzvendra Chahal at short third man.

Aiden Markram didn't disturb the scorers much as he lasted just two deliveries for 1 run with Boult claiming his third wicket.

Travis Head and Klaasen then took over the proceedings to help Hyderabad recover. However, just as the partnership was threatening to look dangerous, it was broken with Sandeep Sharma dismissing Head (34 off 28 balls).

From then on, Hyderabad could never play with their usual flow as they lost wickets on regular intervals with Boult, Avesh and Sandeep making life difficult for the batters. Nitish Kumar Reddy, who has provided spark to Hyderabad this season, also struggled before being dismissed for 5 (off 10 balls) by Avesh.

Klaasen did well to score 50, striking four sixes in the process, but all Hyderabad could manage was 175/9 in 20 overs.  

Just before the match started, Hyderabad jerseys were more on show and the ones that bore the names of Head, Cummins and Klaasen were lapped up by the die-hard fans.

Cummins had also hoped that his big players would deliver and Klaasen didn't disappoint. One of his sixes off Boult's bowling was a standout. That showed his class as most of the other batters struggled to put the bat on the ball properly. The head was also not up to his usual standards.

Brief scores: 
Sunrisers Hyderabad 175/9 in 20 ovs (Klaasen 50, Tripathi 37; Avesh 3/27, Boult 3/45, Sandeep 2/25) bt Rajasthan Royals 139/7 in 20 ovs (Jurel 56 n.o, Jaiswal 42; Shahbaz 3/23, Abhishek 2/24).

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