Sunriser Hyderabad has kept their home ground as a fortress for them, till today. Until the Pune domination overturned the balance of their side and also disrupted their rhythm going into the last two matches of the IPL group stage.
Coming in to bat first, Pune had a little shaky of a start; with their inform batsman Rahul Triparthi getting out for just a 1: Rahane and Smith had to hold the proceedings, but the pitch was a little hard to bat on. None of the batsmen of Pune went on to make a big score but everyone had some decent starts and managed a quite a few hits. It took time for the batsmen to settle in initially, but all the 3 middle order batsman of Pune Smith, Stokes and Dhoni managed some pretty good hits; Stokes being the pick of the lot. Siddarth Kaul was the pick of the bowlers with 4 wickets for 29 runs in his 4 overs and SRH restricted Pune to 148.
With the form that the SRH batsmen have shown through this series you would have thought that this was an easy target to chase. But as it was seen earlier in the game, the pitch didn’t work so well. Unadhkat got some initial swing but that wasn’t enough and with pace on the ball warner and Dhawan ended up bashing the balls all over. Washington Sundar stir up a great 4th over leading to the most important Stokes 5th over which saw 2 in-form batsmen Dhawan and Williamson dismissed in a span of 4 runs. The pressure was on the Hyderabad now. Yuvraj and Warner did manage get a partnership going but it was again the same man Stokes who got the break through. Yuvraj kept hitting the balls into the death over when came Unadhkat with his second spell. Prior to this he had bowled 2 overs giving away 21 runs. In the 18th over he took the all-important wickets of Yuvraj and Ojha for 9 runs and got the game back to the visitors. As he came on to bowl the last over, when 13 runs was needed, he managed to take a maiden hattrick; and yes you heard it right. Unadhkat bowled some consistent slower balls to give no chance for any of the batsmen to hit him off the ground and thus all the 5 wickets were from trying to get the hit and ending up getting nowhere.
Pune now got their 7th win in 8 games, the form which now sees them in the Second Position above KKR. Their peak has come on the right time and they will hope to keep on this form through the coming matches.
SRH on the other hand might now feel threatened with KXIP breathing down their neck. 2 Straight wins to them will see them above the SRH. Warner’s men need to buckle up to get back into winning ways soon, or else the defending champions might end up not qualifying for the Final rounds.
image source: iplt20.com