League leaders Sunrisers Hyderbad made light work of the 180-run target set by Kings XI Punjab and cruised to a 7-wicket win at Mohali on Sunday. Earlier, Hashim Amla finally announced his arrival in the IPL with a 96-run knock after Murali Vijay won the toss and opted to bat first.
After winning three out of their last five matches under new captain Murali Vijay, Kings XI Punjab welcomed league leaders Sunrisers Hyderabad for their last home match of the season. Vijay won the toss on a hot afternoon in Mohali and decided to bat first to make use of the batting-friendly conditions. Pacer Anureet Singh came in for KC Cariappa as the home side made one change to the side that beat Mumbai Indians, while Sunrisers dropped Kane Williamson and Barinder Sran and brought in Ben Cutting and Karn Sharma in their place.
1. Amla announces himself on the IPL stage
1,21, and 0 were the scores of Hashim Amla in his first three outings in the IPL, but after the string of dismal performances, according to the South African’s usually high standards, Amla announced himself on the IPL stage at Mohali.
The South African started by cracking one through point off Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the second ball of the innings. He continued his knack of finding boundaries in the next over by sending Ashish Nehra to the ropes thrice. There was not stopping the Proteas batsman as he lofted one straight back over Nehra in the fourth over for the first six of the innings. Amla’s opening partner, Vijay, looked a shadow of himself in the middle and finally departed in the 5th over after giving a dolly of a catch to Warner at mid-off off Mustafizur.
Although Vijay departed early, Amla made sure that the team did not missed the services of the skipper by forming a 54-run stand with Wriddhiman Saha. 77 runs came in the first ten and Amla brought up his maiden fifty of the IPL in 30 balls. The platform was set for Amla and Saha to cash in, but Henriques broke the partnership in the 12th over by removing the Bengal wicket-keeper.
2. Death bowling troubles for Sunrisers
Mustafizur, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Ashish Nehra is the best fast bowling trio in this season of the IPL with a total of 39 wickets among themselves. But, the trio found it hard to stop the Kings XI Punjab batsmen as they scored 102 runs in the last ten overs. Amla was the main aggressor as he took a liking to Nehra in the 14th over and took him to the cleaners in the powerplay. The left-arm pacer twisted his ankle before the last delivery and went off the field to be relieved off Amla’s attacking display.
Mustafizur was also not spared as Gurkeerat, and then Amla, send him to the ropes in the 15th and 17th over.
The runs kept flowing, but Bhuvneshwar struck in the 18th and 20th over to remove Gurkeerat for 27 and Amla for 96. However, the duo had done their job before their departure with 58 runs coming in the last five overs to help Punjab post 179/4 on the board.
3. Warner-Dhawan smash-fest at top
David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan’s form at the top have been the main reason behind the rise of the Hyderabadi side to the top of the league table, and they continued the same on Sunday by taking the attack to the Punjab bowlers.
After a relatively slow start by scoring 20 runs in the first three over, Warner upped the ante in the fourth over and smashed Anureet Singh for a boundary to open the floodgates. Dhawan also followed suit and send the pacer to the ropes once again in the over, before Warner went after Marcus Stoinis.
The Australian all-rounder conceded 13 runs off his over, and an 11-run over from Maxwell helped the Sunrisers finish the powerplay with 55 runs on the board. With the pair threatening to take the game away, the home side needed a wicket to get back into the match and it came in the eighth over with Mohit Sharma producing a direct hit to remove Dhawan.
4. Yuvraj comes back to haunt Punjab
Yuvraj Singh have been showing glimpses of returning to his best in this IPL, and today he showed exactly why he is rated as one of the most destructive batsmen in the world when in full flow.
When David Warner became the third Hyderbad batsman to hit his own wicket while batting, Sunrisers were delicately poised at 97/2 in the 13th over. However, Yuvraj Singh and Deepak Hooda formed a solid partnership of 42 runs to put their team within touching distance of the win. Eventually, Yuvraj saw his team over the line, alongside Ben Cutting, and he did so in some style.
The southpaw hit three massive sixes and his innings of 42 runs came off just 24 balls as Sunrisers chased down the target with two balls remaining in their innings.
Lasith Malinga or Bhuvneshwar Kumar? Who will take more wickets?
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