It was a special act on the part of the Sunrisers Hyderabad openers in Wriddhiman Saha and captain David Warner, who put on an unbeaten partnership of 153 runs to see their team home by 10 wickets in Sharjah against the Mumbai Indians, in the process knocking out Kolkata Knight Riders who were harbouring hopes of making it to the playoffs, if Hyderabad lost.
This is the second time in a row that Kolkata had to miss out on a playoffs berth of the Indian Premier League because of the Sunrisers, with the Orange brigade qualifying on the basis of net run rate.
Earlier in the day, Sunrisers’ bowlers choked the Mumbai Indians batting, stopping them at just 149 in the 20 overs. Shahbaz Nadeem and Jason Holder along with Sandeep Sharma were the architects in chief in Hyderabad's mission of containing the Rohit Sharma led batting line-up. On that note, let’s look at the Hits and Flops from the game.
The Sunrisers captain was on the money in this game as he not only built a strong and unbeaten partnership along with Saha but batted at a strike rate that people generally associate with him. He also rotated his bowlers very well while in the field. With this knock of 85*, he also reached the 500 run mark in this season, carrying on from the last one.
Scoring 85 off just 58 balls, Warner hit 10 fours and one six and did not give any opportunity whatsoever for the bowlers to get his wicket. Finishing the match was something that has been on his mind ever since the SRH were robbed of two points by Kings XI as Warner had failed to finish it.
Nadeem was excellent as he made the best of the opportunity that he got and took two quick wickets of Suryakumar Yadav and Krunal Pandya. He was economical as well and played a perfect role in keeping things tight.
In his four overs, the Jharkhand lad gave away just 19 runs at less than 5 an over. This was the first big performance of the left-arm orthodox spinner as before that, he had not been able to pick more than one wicket in this entire season. For his role of containment of runs and still being able to pick two crucial wickets, Nadeem was also rewarded with the Man of the Match award.
Since the time Saha has taken the place of Jonny Bairstow, not only the team balance has improved but the Sunrisers are now also able to play a proper foreign all-rounder in Jason Holder as well. And Saha has not merely taken Bairstow’s place but in spirit has delivered as well.
The Siliguri born showcased his range of shots in this game as well, hitting a brilliant 58* off 45 balls. In the partnership with Warner, Saha was initially the aggressor taking pressure off his captain and this is the role that has made him the automatic choice in the 11. In the last three games, all of which the Sunrisers has gone on to win; it was Saha who has played the anchor roles, aggressively and quite well too.
Coming back from the hamstring injury, it wasn’t easy for Hitman to start scoring from the word go. He couldn’t middle the ball and while trying to hit one over mid-off, got caught by his opposition captain David Warner. Rohit could only score four runs off seven balls.
Moreover, as he said in the presentation ceremony, it was a match that he and his team would like to forget as soon as possible and maintain their usual standards of performance that have made them an unputdownable unit in IPL 2020.
The senior of the Pandya brothers hasn’t really fired in this year’s league, although he has remained the part of the team’s playing XI in all the matches, (god knows why?). Krunal in the last 10 matches has scored only 95 runs with a dismal average of 9.5.
The Baroda born hasn’t even been able to cross the single-digit mark on five occasion s in his last 10 innings. His struggle with the bat continued on Tuesday as well after he marched out of the ground on a duck as well.
However, his bowling isn’t much promising either. The 29-year-old has gone wicketless in his last seven innings, including this one. In fact, in this entire season, Krunal has picked up just three scalps.
For Mumbai, it was an eye-opener and they must open their eyes before being robbed by Delhi in the first qualifier. Hyderabad on the other hand would go in as the favourites against Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore.
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All hopes hung by a thread in the final game of the round-robin stage of the Indian Premier League 2020 as not only Sunrisers Hyderabad but also Kolkata Knight Riders and their fans eagerly awaited the fates of their individual teams. But the Sunrisers got the better of the situation as a second-string Mumbai was no match to the powerhouse performance from the Hyderabad unit, winning the Sharjah encounter by a mammoth 10 wickets. While Shahbaz Nadeem and Jason Holder were the pick of the blowers with their tantalising and fruitful spells, Sandeep Sharma got the bulk of wickets, utilising his skillset in a sluggish track and the pressure built by these bowlers. Forced to bat first after losing the toss, Mumbai, who were back with their original captain after a gap of four games, couldn’t do much and get up to only 149 in their allotted 20 overs. Chasing was going to be easy courtesy of the dew factor, but not as easy as Wriddhiman Saha and David Warner made it look. They chased the target in just 17.1 overs, without losing even a single wicket. Forget about losing a wicket, they hardly even gave any chance to the Mumbai lineup. Captains’ Viewpoints Speaking at the presentation ceremony after the victory, Sunrisers captain David Warner said that It felt good to him and the team that they have qualified, especially after the dreadful loss against KXIP. Acknowledging that it wasn’t the first side of the Mumbai Indians, Warner said that even after that his bowlers deserved the credit for restricting the blue brigade under 150. “They rested a few players but to hold them to 150 on this ground was great. A lot of credit goes to the bowlers, Nadeem was superb,” he said. Impressing upon the fact that the attempt was always to be clinical in their performances, Warner said that the never say die attitude stems from the franchise owners. “We were trying to be as clinical with the bat then, and it feels good. We try and put our best foot forward, and that stems from the franchise owners. They are great people and it is like a family. We have a never say die attitude and that is how we approach each game,” he added. Mentioning the injuries that the Sunrisers have had to make their way with, the 33-year-old said that all those players might not be here in person, but in spirit, they were supporting the Orange brigade from wherever they were. “We had a couple of injuries but they are here in spirit and we are doing it for them. Kane missed out due to injury last year and Jonny took his place and was absolutely fantastic. But that happens in franchise cricket, we can play only four overseas players,” the Australian said. Sending out a strong but subtle message to his opponents, Warner said, “We looked at 2016; we were in the same situation where we had to win every game to win the title.” If we can take this performance and momentum into the next game we'll be really happy,” he concluded. Rohit Sharma, back after a hamstring match, ended up on the losing side and said that the humiliating defeat was ‘not the day to remember’ for the team, categorizing it as ‘probably the worst performance of the season so far.’ Justifying the changes, Rohit said, “We wanted to try a few things but unfortunately it didn't go our way. Losing wickets at the top doesn't help.” He further said that he knew that dew was going to play a big part, and therefore they wanted to take the toss out of consideration. Updating on his injury, Rohit said, “The hamstring is absolutely fine. I am happy to be back on the park. Looking forward to a few more games here and see how it goes.” Talking about the dew and how it might impact the upcoming games as well, Rohit said that they would not like dew to be the excuse for anything what so ever. “We play at Wankhede, which always has dew. So we don't want to be de-motivated when we lose the toss,” said the Mumbai captain. Further owning up the responsibility, he said, “We didn't have enough runs on the board to put any pressure on them. If you take wickets in the Powerplay, even if there is dew, it can put pressure on them.” Talking about the qualifier, Rohit said that they could think of all the wins that they have had over Delhi Capitals including the two this year, yet that would not serve any purpose as every day is different. “It is a funny format. I know you want to remember those two wins against DC but you have to stay in the present and keep doing the small things and keep ticking the boxes. You want to leave tonight behind as quickly as possible. We will get back to the drawing board tomorrow,” concluded the 33-year-old. Expert Opinion The experts were all awed by the sheer professionalism shown by the Sunrisers in a must-win game. Most of them also rated the orange brigade as the team to beat going into the Playoffs. Former cricketer turned cricket expert Aakash Chopra said that Sunrisres bossed the game and Mumbai not playing their main players can in no way rob off the Hyderabad side of the credit that they played superbly. Statistician Seervi Bharath picked out some very unique points from the tournament so far, trying to convey that it was the most interesting tournament and yet the most boring one as well. For Harsha Bhogle, the senior cricket analyst, SRH winning the way that they did without needing anybody or any other situation's support was an achievement that sets them apart and make them deserving of the applauses that they have got. Broadcast cricket journalist Vikrant Gupta praised Wriddhiman Saha saying that nobody at the start of the season would have imagined him to be the X factor for the Sunrisers. Kolkata-based veteran journalist Joy Bhattacaharjya was impressed with the way Sunrisers performed in their last three games and said that the teams facing them in the Playoffs would be worried. Gaurav Klara, as always suggested a very unique but innovative idea of putting Cameras in Kolkata Knight Riders' common room so that a Live Feed of their reactions regarding this match could also be shown to the viewers to make the experience more enriching. Hyderabad would look to carry the same momentum going into the Playoffs, while Mumbai would look for a change for sure.
David Warner and Wriddhiman Saha torpedoed an unbeaten 151-run partnership to burst Mumbai Indians' bubble in the last league game of Indian Premier League, catapulting Sunrisers Hyderabad into the playoffs as Kolkata Knight Riders vanish from the exit door by default. No mean feat after tasting defeat in five of their initial nine jousts.
The Delhi Capitals’ losing streak was finally broken as they came to their own in a must-win game, not just for qualification to the Playoffs but for their confidence as well. Chasing a target of mere 153 set up by the Royal Challengers Bangalore, who were sent to bat by the Capitals, after the latter won the toss in Abu Dhabi. The Delhi team, while not being able to get quick wickets kept the pressure on the RCB by not offering them easy runs. Once the Devdutt Padikkal- Virat Kohli partnership was broken, the sluice gates also opened as Nortje got into the act to pick quick wickets and not restrict the red and gold to just 152. In the chase, two veterans in Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane stuck together to see their team through. On this note, let us look at the Hits and Flops from the game. Hits #1 Anrich Nortje The South Africans in Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada have been the heart and soul of the Delhi bowling lineup. They have not only got wickets when it has mattered but go them in ways that were electrifying and change the course of the game. Prior to this game, there was another match against the Kolkata Knight Riders, near the start of the season, where he spitfire with the ball and won it for his team. In this game too, the 26 years old was on the money as he dismissed two very important batters of the RCB side in form of Padikkal and Chris Morris. However, more than the importance of the wicket, it was its timing that made Nortje’s wickets real special. He delivered when required and finished with the figures of 3/33 in his four overs. #2 Ajinkya Rahane If there was one player who needed to show that he belonged, it was Ajninkya Rahane. The Test stalwart had lost his place in India's limited-overs side, was released from the Rajasthan Royals side, and got fortunately picked by the Capitals. But not getting starts in the earlier phases, it was Prithvi Shaw’s dip in form that gave him the chance. Having let lip the earlier chances, Rahane grabbed the one that was probably the most important one. In a do or die game, the Mumbaikar scored a crucial 60 off 46 balls with fours and one beautiful six over the bowler’s head before playing a very non-required rash reverse sweep to get out. #3 Shikhar Dhawan Along with Rahane, Dhawan too made his experience count as he built an all-important 88 run stand with the former. The runs came at a quick pace as well, making the partnership look smooth. Dhawan who has already scored two hundred in the IPL 2020 so far, was on course a big score this time around as well. But much like Rahane and earlier to him as well, got out playing a paddle sweep which was not the need of the hour what so ever. He scored 54 off 41 balls with the help of six fours. Flops #1 Chris Morris Not for the first time though, Chris Morris disappointed the RCB management with the bat. He was sent ahead of Shivam Dube so as to score quick runs. But failing in that, he just got out for a duck off Nortje. Apart from a 25 off 8 balls against the Kings XI, the South African hasn’t really hasn’t been able to do much with the bat in hand. In the last two games, he hasn’t been able to do much with the bowl either. In this game as well, the 33-year-old gave away 19 runs in two overs before getting injured and unavailable to bowl. #2 Virat Kohli Although the RCB have now qualified, what if they hadn’t what if they lost the game before 17.3 overs? All blame would have fallen upon the captain and rightly so. Kohli is going through a lean patch and there is no fault in accepting that. However, once settled, one must play through till the end. And this has been Kohli’s thought process as well. But in this IPL, he hasn’t been able to live up to the expectations of the fans and the team either. In this game too, he got out after settling in and playing 24 balls. The manner in which he got out was rather disappointing than getting out. Kohli had scored 29 with the help of two fours and one six before being dismissed by Ravichandran Ashwin. With the end of this match, all eyes would now shift to Sharjah as along with Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad, KKR would be equally interested in the outcome, hoping that MI beats SRH.
Hyped to be as one of the most interesting matches, a virtual quarterfinal eventually ended up being a dull game with both the teams qualifying, none of it trying to throw the other out of the tournament. However, the game in Abu Dhabi at least ensured that the Delhi Capitals were finally back into their groove as they beat the Royal Challengers Bangalore quite comfortably by six wickets. The win was more than good enough for not only letting them qualify but also RCB as it came with only six balls left in the innings, while for RCB to be knocked out, the Capitals needed to win it before 17 balls. Anrich Nortje with the ball and veterans in Ajinkya Rahane and Shikhar Dhawan with the bat were the stars for the Capitals in this game. Captains’ Viewpoints Reacting to the victory, Delhi captain Shreyas Iyer said that he was ‘very chuffed with the performance’ of his team. Calling it a do or die game for his team, Iyer said that it was the performances of the teams in the second half of the table that made the tournament interesting. “We knew it was a do-or-die and an opportunity for us to get to the second spot. We were really motivated. The teams winning in the latter half completely changed the scenario of the table and it was really commendable,” he said. Impressed with the bowlers, the 25-year-old said he was happy with how things worked out for the quicks, especially Nortje. “[I am] really happy with how the tournament has gone so far. The bowlers were really up with their plans and they knew what they had to execute. Nortje was really good and it worked out pretty well. Kudos to the way the bowlers bowled,” he said. Going into the tournament Delhi were one of the strongest teams. Impressing upon this, the Capitals skipper said that they also knew it and therefore stuck to the basics to achieve results in their favour. “We are one of the best teams in the tournament and we need to stick to the basics and if we try and execute our plans, the results will come,” Iyer concluded. Calling the match as a ‘mixed bag’, RCB captain Virat Kohli said that all the teams come to games to try and get a result their way, but every time it won’t go as planned. Talking about the target of making sure that Delhi batted beyond 17.3 overs for RCB to qualify for the Playoffs, Kohli said that it was only after the 11th over that the management told him about any such equation. “Even if the game was drifting away, we controlled the middle overs well enough,” he added. Saying that he deserved to be in the Playoffs, Kohli cited the way his team played throughout the season as the prime reason for that. “I think we've played good enough cricket in this tournament to qualify.” He further said, “We have two games to the final now. We can be braver in the back end, probably be better in the powerplay (with the ball) which has been our strength.” Expert Opinion The experts in this game seemed generally happy with the outcome of the match, especially with the Capitals coming back to form and called tomorrow’s game as the deciding factor on who qualifies. Calling it a fair deal that both DC and RCB qualified, Harsha Bhogle said that they deserved it. Ayaz Memon, veteran cricket analyst who had smelled ‘rot’ in Delhi Capitals after their four losses on a trot, complimented the team for fighting back. Vimal Kumar, a senior broadcast cricket journalist, in an interesting take sought to compare the South Africans in both the teams. Lalchand Rajput, former India player, and manager, was impressed with how Ajinkya Rahane made a comeback after going through an extremely tough phase in his limited-overs career. Cricketer turned commentator and analyst Aakash Chopra brought in an altogether different point as he said that he had read enough on how Delhi purposefully didn’t win the game before 17.3 overs. While Delhi Capitals would like to maintain the same level of diligence when they next take on Mumbai Indians in the Qualifiers, Royal Challengers Bangalore would look to improve their game a bit to face either Kolkata Knight Riders or Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Eliminator.