Sunrisers Hyderabad 151 for 0 (Warner 85*, Saha 58*) beat Mumbai Indians 149 for 8 (Pollard 41, Sandeep 3-34) by 10 wickets
The Sunrisers Hyderabad had to beat the top three teams in the IPL to qualify for the playoffs this season. And they did. With style.
Sandeep Sharma was a menace in the powerplay. He finished with 3 for 34. Mumbai recovered in the middle overs but Shahbaz Nadeem broke them again. He finished with 4-0-19-2.
Kieron Pollard’s intervention gave them 149 on the board, but having rested Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult, the bowling did not have enough firepower to pick up even a single wicket. David Warner made his highest score of the season – 85 not out off 58 balls – and Wriddhiman Saha provided his value as a hitter up the order as the Sunrisers waltzed into the playoffs. Their win also meant the Kolkata Knight Riders, who had the same points (14) as the Sunrisers and the Royal Challengers Bangalore at the end of the league stage, lost out on a playoff spot because of their inferior net run rate.
The unheralded. Part I
Sandeep is a medium pacer. Batsmen don’t fear that lot. In fact, they often taunt them by batting outside the crease. You can’t hurt me, but I’m going to hurt you.
Even under this pressure, the 27-year-old has been a steadfast performer. He dismissed Rohit Sharma for 4 and battled back from a pasting by Quinton de Kock to knock over his stumps.
Early wickets like that can stall a T20 innings, but Suryakumar Yadav wouldn’t let it happen to his team. With sublime clarity of thought – especially against Rashid Khan – he helped Mumbai back to a position of strength. They were 78 for 2 after 10 overs.
The unheralded. Part II
Even with Hardik Pandya, Bumrah and Boult rested, this Mumbai line-up had proven it had enough game-changers to be a threat. They had a launch pad. And the Sunrisers had to tear it down all over again. This time they used spin.
Nadeem is an extremely diligent cricketer. He needs to be because he is often asked to take on terrible responsibilities. The Sunrisers often match him up against big hitters like AB de Villiers and Shane Watson. This is a man who bowls left-arm orthodox. And he still outsmarts players of that pedigree. He did it here too, getting Yadav stumped for 36 off 29, and three balls later having Krunal Pandya caught off a miscue for a duck.
Mumbai were now 81 for 4 in the 12th over. Then they lurched to 115 for 6 in the 17th over. But Kieron Pollard decided enough was enough and unleashed himself, hitting 41 off 25 balls and lifting the total up to 149.
The unheralded Part III
Saha is a powerplay supernova. He loves batting with the field up. And this year, against the Delhi Capitals, he showed that he has developed his game enough to remain a threat even when those five men retreat to the boundary.
With Mumbai refusing to give Warner any room at the start of his innings, it was the wicketkeeper who kicked the Sunrisers into gear with a Test quality straight-bat shot over mid-off for six. It was all timing and grace.
Soon enough the Sunrisers captain joined in on the fun and by the time the powerplay was over (56 for 0), his team was looking at a required rate of a little over six to win one of their most important games this season.
After that it was just a matter of time.
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