Sunrisers Hyderabad tweaked the script to a nicety. Left-hander Thisara Perera’s three massive sixes off Azhar Mahmood in the 19th over signaled Sunrisers’ five-wicket win over Kings XI, which has lifted them to the helm of the league.
They exuded exuberance and energy to record their fifth victory from seven matches and their third successive at home, as they chased down Kings XI’s 123 for 9 in 18.5 overs, but not before a few hiccups.
There was something to cheer for Kings XI when Azhar Mahmood plucked off a beautiful catch at deep mid-off to cut short opener Akshath Reddy’s good innings. However, the Hyderabad Ranji pair of Reddy and G Hanuma Vihari had by then combined 48 runs for the second wicket after Quinton de Kock fell for a duck.
Vihari impressed with his 39-ball 46 before he was out to a poor shot. The hosts lost skipper Cameron White, who continued to lead in the absence of Kumar Sangakkara. His and Biplab Samantray’s wickets offered Punjab some respite but Perera’s lusty blows crippled Kings XI.
Then again, it was their bowlers’ that set up the win. If in the last match, Amit Mishra scripted a dramatic victory over Pune Warriors with four wickets including a hat-trick, in this match, he triggered Punjab’s collapse, dismissing Azhar Mahmood with his 22nd delivery and Manan Vohra with his last ball. Vohra’s wicket took his tally to 11, past Sunil Narine. In between, the hard-hitting Manpreet Gony was run out, too.
It was another shoddy effort from Kings XI, as they contrived to lose wickets in a heap. The visitors, who were 104 for five in 17 overs, lost their last five wickets for only 11 runs. Dale Steyn, who continued to bowl a tight spell (4 for 14), dismissed Gurkeerat Singh, their last specialist batsmen in the first ball of his 18th over.
But it was the two Sharmas--Ishant and leg spinner Karan--who made the early dent in Kings XI’s innings. Ishant removed opener Mandeep Singh in his first over and then had David Hussey caught in the deep in the fourth over. Karan captured two wickets in his second over.
First, he had Adam Gilchrist caught in the deep, and two balls later he dismissed the struggling Paul Valthaty.
But Gilchrist, in his 25-ball knock, showed glimpses of his hard-hitting prowess, as when he struck three fours in Thisara Perera’s first over. But Kings XI’s best partnership was between left-hander Piyush Chawla and Hussey, who raised 40 runs off 31 deliveries with the former fetching Karan Sharma for two sixes. The visitors profited with a few more sixes before they stuttered to an all too familiar collapse. Once again Sunrisers bowlers restricted their opponents beneath 130.