In four IPL matches over the last three days, Sunrisers Hyderabad won both their games with the victory over RR on Thursday being particularly noteworthy. Two days later, unseasonal showers in Delhi interrupted the DD/SRH game four times and thrice new D/L targets were announced. Finally, SRH were required to score 43 off 5 overs and they won. On Friday, explosive KXIP batting left RCB way behind the target, despite courageous knocks from de Villiers, Mitchell Starc and Albie Morkel. In a match played yesterday at Mumbai, famous final over finisher MSD handed MI another defeat this IPL.
On Thursday, the RR captain must have back-slapped himself, when Royals restricted SRH to just 134/9, after Watson won the toss and asked SRH to bat first. SRH found scoring difficult after Dhawan got out in the 4th over for 33 off 20 balls. Other SRH batsmen played awkwardly with Finch struggling for 10 balls and scored 9 and Lokesh Rahul and Naman Ojha making some contributions. Moises Henriques and the big-hitting Warner just fished around before losing their wickets and SRH could somehow touch 134, thanks to a run-a-ball 21 from Irfan Pathan.
Coming to chase the seemingly easy 135, RR began disastrously. They lost Ajinkya Rahane in the first over with nothing on scoreboard. Karun Nair and Sanju Samson raised the hopes of revival by a 27-run partnership but once they got out, wickets began to fall at regular intervals. Smart fielding and Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s restrictive bowling affected the last 5 dismissals in a space of 24 runs. RR finished with a poor 102 and lost the game to SRH by 32 runs.
On the same day at Bangalore, RCB also lost their match to KXIP by 32 runs. Virat Kohli won the toss and asked Punjab to bat. Virender Sehwag and his new partner Mandeep Singh added 60 for the first wicket, before Mandeep got out in the 6th over. Though Sehwag too followed shortly, KXIP still had ammunition. Tournament’s top-scorer, Maxwell swung around and hit 2 fours and 2 sixes in his 11-ball 25, before holing out in the deep. By then, the score had gone up to 93/3. Though, Bailey didn’t last long, Miller took command and needed just 29 balls for an aggressive 66, which included 8 fours and 3 sixes. Wriddhiman Saha and Mitchell Johnson made useful contributions in support roles and KXIP reached an extremely challenging 198. RCB’s chase was hampered from the start as openers and one-drop batsman fell early. IPL’s costliest cricketer Yuvraj Singh fell once again very cheaply and RCB tottered at 76/6 in the 12th over. AB de Villiers gave RCB’s hopes by scoring 53 off 26 balls with 5 sixes. In large part, de Villiers was helped by Starc’s 23-ball 29. But once these two got out, it was curtains for RCB, despite a late surge by Varun Aarons’s 17 off 11 balls. RCB could only reach 166/9 and lost tamely to KXIP.
Riding on their victory against RR two days earlier, Sunrisers asked DD to bat first on Saturday, after winning the toss. Delhi’s batting line-up continues to look impressive but only on paper. They had full 20 overs and did well by putting on 128/3, until 24 balls remained in their innings. Earlier, after 13th over, there was an hour-long rain break. In a woeful ending, DD added just 15 off the last four overs, losing 4 wickets and reaching 143/7. DD’s decision to hold Duminy back until late, defied logic but credit must be attached to the SRH bowlers too, who choked Delhi at death. Before SRH took to chasing, there was another rain-break that reduced the target to 117 in 15 overs. SRH made 10 in the first over, when another rain-break came. The target was further reduced to 97 off 12 overs. SRH lost Dhawan in the second over and a little later it started drizzling once again. When the SRH batsmen came back, the new D/L target was 43 runs in 5 overs and SRH were 24/1 at the end of the third. On the second ball of the 4th over, Finch was bowled by Rahul Shukla and SRH still required 18 off 10 balls. Naman Ojha took 1 and Warner hit Shukla for a boundary and scored a single off the fifth ball. On the last ball, a determined Ojha hoisted Shukla skywards for a massive six. The 6 runs required for victory, were scored off the first two balls of Laxmi Shukla’s last over, when Warner took a single and Ojha hit another six to clinch the victory for his team.
In Mumbai, CSK sent MI in after the toss and the hosts lost a wicket straightaway in the 3rd over. But albeit living dangerously, Lendl Simmons and Ambati Rayudu, carried the score to 77, before Simmons fell for a subdued 38 off 38 balls. At this point, Rohit Sharma joined Rayudu. Though the two of them didn’t get separated until the 18th over, they couldn’t raise the scoring rate. Only Anderson’s 6-ball 18 and Tare’s 9 off 5 could make it 157 for Mumbai. For the strong CSK, 158 was hardly a challenge and they went about businesslike from the start. Dwayne Smith scored his fifth IPL fifty this season. There were smaller but useful contributions from McCullum, Raina and du Plessis. After Malinga conceded just 6 off the 19th over, CSK required 11 in the last. With CSK’s famous final over finisher Dhoni facing Pollard, the target was easily achieved.