HYDERABAD: There is a Johnny Cash song that goes: “There ain’t no grave that can hold my body down.” Rising Pune Supergiant seemed to be humming this as they snatched victory from the hands of Sunrisers Hyderabad and handed them their first home defeat, a margin by 12 runs, this season at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium here on Saturday.
Thirteen runs for a win in the last over is not a huge task in T20 cricket. What is least expected is a maiden over, studded with a hat-trick to boot, from the bowler. But Pune’s Jaydev Unadkat accomplished just that to breach the Uppal fortress and move his team to second in the standings.
The Saurashtra pacer returned exemplary figures of 5/30 to steal victory from right under the nose of the home team. Hyderabad dominated for a majority of the match, but slumped to defeat against a side that suddenly looks to possess the best bowling arsenal in the championship.
Chasing a relatively small total of 149, David Warner & Co were comfortably placed at 83/2 after 12.1 overs, but in the end they could manage just 136/9. The visitors’ man who has been in great all-round form — Ben Stokes (3/30) — struck with the third ball of the thirteenth over to send Warner (40) packing.
The Englishman also scalped Shikhar Dhawan and New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson to give them initial jitters. From there on, it was struggle for Hyderabad, as the strokeplay of Yuvraj Singh (47 of 43) was not enough to bring them home.
However, in defeat there were positives for the hosts as they executed the bowl-first plan with aplomb to restrict their opponents to a low total.
The stranglehold was so tight that Steve Smith’s boys could score only a single boundary in their first ten overs. Quickfire contributions from Stokes (39 off 25) and MS Dhoni (31 off 21) propelled Pune to a respectable 148/8 as the Hyderabad bowlers, led by Siddharth Kaul (4/29), did not loosen their grip. Skipper Smith crawled to a 39-ball 34 without hitting a single boundary, but his 60-run partnership with Stokes laid the foundation for a competitive total on a dry track.
Though he could not score much, the Aussie was dropped twice at the short fine-leg position to gift the visitors the runs that mattered in the end. Kaul again proved his death-bowling credentials by removing Dhoni in the last over.
The confidence in the Pune camp was evident from the fact that they fielded an unchanged squad as against the Orange Warriors, who made two changes.
But the day belonged to Unadkat, who completed a century of wickets in the IPL in that magical last over. He, along with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, have produced some of the best death-bowling performances this season. Their wickets and economy rates are a testimony to that.
With Pune’s rise continuing, the room in the playoffs is getting more and more cramped, and Hyderabad need to win both their matches to avoid being knocked out, in case teams like Delhi and Punjab do what is required off them.
Brief scores: Rising Pune Supergiant 148/8 in 20 ovs (Rahane 22, Smith 34, Stokes 39, Dhoni 31; Kaul 4/29) bt Sunrisers Hyderabad 136/9 in 20 ovs (Warner 40, Yuvraj 47; Unadkat 5/20, Stokes 3/30).