Warner, Saha thrust Hyderabad into playoffs as KKR pay price of less NRR

Aryan Surana

| Nov 3, 6:13 PM

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Brief Scores

Mumbai Indians 149/8 (Kieron Pollard 41, Suryakumar Yadav 36; Sandeep Sharma 3-34, Shahbaz Nadeem 2-19) 

lost to 

Sunrisers Hyderabad 151/0 in 17.1 overs (David Warner 85*, Wriddhiman Saha 58*) by 10 wickets.

David Warner and Wriddhiman Saha torpedoed an unbeaten 151-run partnership to burst Mumbai Indians' bubble in the ultimate league game of the Indian Premier League 2020, catapulting Sunrisers Hyderabad into the playoffs as Kolkata Knight Riders vanish from the exit door by default after finishing last on Net Run Rate among the three teams tied on 14 points. SRH's crusade to glory is no mean feat after tasting defeat in five of their initial nine jousts. Shahbaz Nadeem proved the beneficiary of the Man-of-the-Match award for his niggardly figures of 2/19.

Battered and bruised with four maulings on the trot, Royal Challengers Bangalore will look at Sunrisers Hyderabad with a hint of trepidation as Abu Dhabi hosts the Eliminator on November 6.

Warner-Saha get the show on the road

KKR were hoping against hope for MI to safeguard the wraithlike numbers they'd huffed and puffed to muster. However, with rockstars of the ilk of David Warner and Wriddhiman Saha moonwalking to the dance floor, you'd more often than not be denied answers to your prayers. Nor were their mainstays Boult or Bumrah to turn to for a miracle of sorts. The left-right combo garnered 56 inside the Power-Play, each boundary shattering the hearts of KKR fans on its way to the rope threads. 

Post notching SRH's sixth successive 50-plus score inside the circle, Warner and Saha kept their foot jammed on the gas pedal. It could be a lesson learnt the hard way since they lost the plot in a facile 127-run chase against KXIP. Complacency was thrown to the dogs as SRH motored along at a fair clip, amassing 88/0 in 10 overs to skittle the asking rate down to just six an over.

Dew ain't a bowling opposition's friend

Besides tackling the openers' happy-go-lucky demeanour, MI had to bear the brunt of unrelenting dew. And nothing exemplified its presence more than Krunal Pandya hurled his trademark bouncer on a different planet to splurge five wides. The beast that is Warner transcended the 500-run milestone for the sixth year in a row as the steady accumulation of runs nudged SRH within touching distance of victory. With 13 runs needed from 30 balls, even 2020 couldn't have sprung up a surprise. 

Rohit's inclusion raises a few eyebrows

It was a no-brainer on MI's part to rest their speed behemoths Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult after what has been soul-sapping exploitation of their genius. Dhawal Kulkarni registered his season debut while lynchpin Rohit Sharma regained fitness in the nick of time to relieve Kieron Pollard from captaincy duties. 

Not sure whether that news went down well with folks back downtown in Australia. Or for that matter in BCCI quarters as president Sourav Ganguly had advised him against rushing into action. He was excluded from India squads for the upcoming tour of Australia too as a precautionary measure. 

Sandy prevails in battle of wits

Albert Einstein was quoted saying that the measure of intelligence is the ability to change. In the slam-bang format where rampant pinch-hitters take guard loaded with ambition and attitude, devil playing on their mind, military medium Sandeep Sharma adheres to these pearls of wisdom. 

The fingers were rolled across deceptively across the seam as Rohit miscued a tame loft to mid-off, allowed no pace to work with whatsoever. Quinton de Kock took sweet revenge with an adorable cover drive and a pair of turbocharged sixes over mid-wicket. The sly game of cat and mouse was yet again bested by Sandeep with his go-to weapon, the loopy off-cutter as the southpaw chopped on for 25. 

Mumbai reel from bad to worse

Suryakumar Yadav hit the ground running with a couple of belligerent square cuts through backward point off Shahbaz Nadeem before surviving a dropped chance by the left-arm himself. Can't blame him though, it was a goblet of fire cannoning into his fingers. However, Nadeem settled accounts soon as Wriddhiman Saha's nifty glovework caught Yadav's backfoot hanging for a nanosecond in the air. An innocuous length ball from Nadeem bounced spongily on the wicket and guiled Krunal Pandya into a leading edge. Saurabh Tiwari feathering behind to Rashid Khan's googly added insult to injury as MI lost their fifth wicket inside 100 runs for the first time in the season. 

MI bang in the twilight zone

The table-toppers cherished the rub of the green with Rashid muffing an absolute sitter to reprieve Ishan Kishan and Kieron Pollard escaping with umpire's call after having erred in judgement of the leggie's wrong 'un. The young dasher didn't make the lease of life count, succumbing to an encore of the de Kock trap by Sandeep, who proved his mettle once more with noble returns of 3/34. 

Polly lends a helping hand

Nathan Coulter-Nile was of no help to the scoreboard but it felt like Christmas had arrived early for Pollard. Thangarasu Natarajan stood perplexed at the receiving end of a glitzy hat-trick of maximums in the V. For a man on a mission to demolish, it was an unbelievable sight when he let slip Jason Holder's full-toss unpunished to take the off-pole out of the equation. Never mind, his crackling 41 off 25 bailed MI from muddy waters and goaded them to a plateau of some respect. 

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