Sunrisers’ playoff hopes dashed

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Punjab Kings 125 for 7 (Markram 27, Holder 3-19) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 120 for 7 (Holder 46*, Bishnoi 3-24, Shami 2-14) by five runs

(CRICINFO) With eight losses in nine games, Sunrisers Hyderabad are no longer in playoff contention. Punjab Kings knocked them out of the race with a tidy bowling performance that kept their own hopes of making the top four alive and kicking.

Mohammed Shami’s new-ball breakthroughs to remove David Warner and Kane Williamson hurt Sunrisers early in their chase of 126, after which they failed to find a batter who could change gears in the middle overs. Sunrisers made just 20 in the powerplay – their lowest score for the period in IPL history – and never recovered. Legspinner Ravi Bishnoi then made the most of the rising asking rate by bowling googlies and taking a three-wicket haul in his first match of the renewed season.

Sharjah has been the most difficult place for run-scoring among the three UAE venues in this IPL and it proved to be so yet again as Sunrisers struggled to cope with the variety in the Kings’ bowling attack.


The game was not without its thrills though. When Jason Holder struck five sixes late in the chase, it appeared the Kings would lose yet game from a winning position, but on this occasion, they closed it out well with IPL debutant Nathan Ellis successfully defending 16 in the last over.

When batting was relatively easier in the first innings, the Kings stumbled to 125 for 7. It was Holder who starred for Sunrisers with the ball as well, taking three wickets and eventually winning the Player-of-the-Match award as well. But it would have been small consolation after such a tough loss.

Shami, Bishnoi impress
Wickets up top were always crucial when defending 125, and it was Shami who got that breakthrough in the first over. David Warner chased a wide ball only to edge it to KL Rahul. Shami then doubled up by dismissing Kane Williamson in his next over. The Sunrisers captain tried to punch a length ball through cover but it jagged back in and he chopped it onto the stumps.

That led to a period of apparent recovery from the other opener Wriddhiman Saha and No. 4 Manish Pandey. But while they did add 22 runs together, it came in 5.4 overs. Spinners Harpreet Brar and Bishnoi found bounce and turn respectively and Ellis bowled an assortment of cutters and slower balls, forcing false shots from the two batters.

With the bowlers choking the flow of runs, Pandey (13 off 23) felt it was time to break the shackles. But he fell victim to a googly from Bishnoi that went through the bat-pad gap to crash into the stumps. Soon after, Kedar Jadhav was out for a 12-ball 12, dragging a Bishnoi wrong’un onto his stumps. It wasn’t long before Bishnoi added another wicket to his tally, Abdul Samad out for 1 when his attempt at a slog went to short third man instead. Bishnoi finished with 3 for 24.

Saha played a lone hand in tricky conditions. His dismissal, for 30 off 36, came at a crucial time, just after Holder’s three sixes had brought the equation down to 35 off 24. Holder, for his part, looked like he was batting on a wholly different surface. Slot balls from Ellis and Shami were deposited for sixes straight down the ground as he reminded everyone of what a tiny ground Sharjah is, but the lack of support from the others meant he could not drag Sunrisers over the line.

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