Sunrisers Hyderabad confirmed their place in the 2017 Indian Premier League [IPL] playoffs after a convincing eight-wicket win over Gujarat Lions at Green Park, Kanpur on Saturday.
Chasing a target of 155, the Sunrisers found themselves in a bit of trouble early on as they lost the wickets of Shikhar Dhawan [18 off 11 balls] and Moises Henriques [4 off 2 balls] with just 25 runs on the board.
Praveen Kumar, who had returned to the Gujarat line-up after sitting out a few matches, was brilliant with the new ball – picking up the two early wickets.
David Warner and Vijay Shankar, though, were on hand to rebuild the innings and guide the Hyderabad-based franchise to what was an easy victory in the end.
The duo added an unbeaten 133-run stand which came from just 91 deliveries and somewhat incredibly included zero sixes.
A sore finger kept Yuvraj Singh out of the match, but the void left by the Indian superstar was filled superbly by Shankar who notched up his first IPL fifty. The 26-year-old scored 63* from just 44 balls in a knock which included nine fours.
At the other end, Warner continued to be at his consistent best as he managed to register yet another half-century. The Sunrisers captain top-scored with an unbeaten 69 from 52 balls. He also hit nine fours in his innings.
Earlier, after being put into bat, Gujarat got off to the best possible start as openers Dwayne Smith and Ishan Kishan added a century partnership with both batsmen scoring fifties.
Both Smith and Kishan have batted better when they’ve been asked to open the innings this season and it was no different here as they added 111 runs from just 65 deliveries as the Lions looked like they would pile on a huge total.
But those hopes quickly disappeared as the dismissal of Smith for a 33-ball 54 brought about the worst batting collapse in the history of the IPL.
Gujarat would lose all ten wickets over a period where they managed to score just 43 runs. In the end, the Lions were bowled out for just 154.
Apart from Smith and Kishan, only one other batsman – Ravindra Jadeja [20* off 14 balls] – managed to reach double figures.
Young fast bowler Mohammed Siraj was the most impressive bowler for the Sunrisers as he registered his career-best bowling figures in the IPL.
The 23-year-old picked up four wickets and conceded 32 runs in his four-over spell. He took the key wickets of Kishan, who had scored 61 from 40 balls, and Suresh Raina in the same over which really swung the momentum of the match in favour of the defending champions.
Unsurprisingly, Siraj was named as the Player of the Match at the end of the game.
Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan continued his good run of form in the tournament as he took three crucial wickets in the middle overs.
On the other hand, Bhuvneshwar Kumar strengthened his grip on the Purple Cap as he picked up two wickets at the end of the innings.
The Sunrisers, having now qualified for the playoffs, will be keen to repeat last year’s heroics when they were crowned champions.
Gujarat Lions 154 all out, 19.2 overs [Kishan 61, Smith 54, Siraj 4-32] lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad 158-2, 18.1 overs [Warner 69*, Shankar 63*, Praveen 2-22] by eight wickets.
Player of the Match – Mohammed Siraj.