An ice-cool Bhuvneshwar Kumar (5/19) provided Sunrisers Hyderabad home comfort after a couple of reverses on the road, as they prevailed over Kings XI Punjab by five runs in the Indian Premier League tonight.
The India seamer’s successful outing meant Manan Vohra’s heroics went in vain. The 23-year-old from Chandigarh smashed 95 off 50 balls with the help of nine boundaries and five sixes, almost singlehandedly guiding KXIP to victory with an incredible knock.
Sent into bat, Sunrisers Hyderabad scored 159 for six with skipper David Warner hitting 70 off 54 balls.
In reply, the visitors were reeling at 62 five at the end of 10th over, with Bhuvneshwar doing the initial damage before the Afghanistan spin duo of Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi took control of the proceedings.
However, young Vohra had other ideas as he unleashed a wide array of shots that he has in his repertoire. Even as the going got tough with the required run rate soaring, Vohra seemed unperturbed and literally toyed with the Sunrisers attack.
In the end, the equation was brought down to 18 from the last three overs and 16 from last two, and that’s when Bhuvneshwar responded to his captain’s call by having Vohra trapped in front with KXIP still some way off the target.
Kings XI Punjab could not recover from that and were eventually bowled out for 154 in 19.4 overs.
The visitors were off to a disastrous start, losing Hashim Amla in the first ball of the innings by Bhuvneshwar.
In an eventful start, the next ball, also a sharp inswinger, was flicked for a four by Glenn Maxwell.
Sunrisers Hyderabad got the big wicket of Maxwell when Bhuvneshwar had the KXIP skipper caught in the deep by Warner, the change of pace meaning the batsman couldn’t time the shot as well as he would have liked it to.
Nabi, making his IPL debut, was welcomed with a huge six by Eoin Morgan, and then Manan Vohra smashed Rashid Khan, the other Afghan playing in the cash-rich league, for 19 runs with the help of two boundaries and a six over deep midwicket.
It, however, did not take long for Nabi to leave an impression as he knocked over Morgan’s middle stump to have the last laugh.
Rashid was not to be left behind as the leg-spinner disturbed a clueless David Miller’s leg stump to leave KXIP reeling at 62 for four in the 10th over.
And, two balls later, it became worse when Rashid sent back Wriddhiman Saha with a googly, this time hitting the off stump.
The target looked distant as KXIP were struggling at 62 for five at the end of 10th over.
Vohra was lucky as he survived what looked like a clear lbw dismissal before Nabi, in the same over, dropped a sitter off his own bowling against Axar Patel. The Vohra show began after that.
Earlier, Warner added 60 valuable runs with Naman Ojha (34), giving the innings some momentum after a slow start, which saw the home side score only 25 runs in the first five overs.
This was Warner’s 34th fifty, the most by any batsman in the tournament, and his fifth straight against Kings XI Punjab. Kings XI Punjab bowlers were disciplined in their approach on a pitch where shot-making was not the easiest thing in the world.
Warner got to his half century off 45 balls when he tucked one past the keeper for a boundary in the innings’ 17th over.
Having swiftly switched his stance, Warner’s reverse-ramp six past short third man broke the shackles in the seventh over, KC Cariappa being the bowler.
A couple of wickets by spinner Axar, including Yuvraj Singh’s first-ball duck, and Sunrisers were struggling at 50 for three in the 10th over.
Rashid Khan finished the innings in style, pulling Sandeep Sharma over long on for a six. For Kings XI Punjab, Mohit Sharma and Axar Patel were the most successful bowlers, returning figures of 2/25 and 2/33 respectively.