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Sunrisers give themselves hope of top-two finish

Sunrisers Hyderabad 158 for 2 (Warner 69*, Shankar 63*, Praveen 2-22) beat Gujarat Lions 154 (Kishan 61, Smith 54, Siraj 4-32, Rashid 3-34) by 8 wickets

M26 - GL vs KXIP

It seemed Royal Challengers Bangalore’s slide to 47 all out would take some undoing, but in their last match as a franchise Gujarat Lions managed the worst IPL collapse of all time: from 111 for 0 to 154 all out after they had looked like they could get to a defendable score on a flat pitch and a small ground. After the collapse, though, Sunrisers chased with ease to make it 5-0 against Lions, and took the two points that gave them a chance of finishing in the top two, which comes with two bites at the playoff cherry. With 17 points from their 14 games, they now needed Kolkata Knight Riders and Rising Pune Supergiant to lose their respective last matches.

For the first 10.4 overs of the match, it seemed it would take a big chase from Sunrisers. Ishan Kishan and Dwayne Smith got Lions off to a flying start, which showed no signs of slowing down even after the Powerplay, but Rashid Khan and Mohammed Siraj broke the back of the Lions top and middle order. Six batsmen were bowled – second-most in an IPL innings – which spoke both of the bowlers’ accuracy and reckless batting. Praveen Kumar took two early wickets to create some interest, but David Warner and Vijay Shankar denied any further drama.

Kishan and Smith run away

It looked like stick cricket, really. The Sunrisers quicks bowled a touch too short, and Kishan kept getting inside the line to help some pulls along their way. Even if he didn’t get the best of connections, the pulled-in ropes made sure he kept clearing them. Mohammed Nabi conceded just two runs in the fourth over, but Smith accounted for him in the sixth, slogging him for a six and following it up with an off-driven four. Nabi remained the only bowler to bowl a boundary-less over in the first 10, doing it again in the eighth. Even Rashid went for two sixes and a four, again bowling short and getting pulled away by both batsmen.

11th over, 111 runs, 1st wicket

Outside the short balls in the first 10.4 overs, Sunrisers had conceded at just 8.2 an over. The 13 short balls, though, had gone for 42 runs to leave them looking at a 200-plus chase to ensure qualification. Ironically, it was the short ball that turned it around. Rashid got one to skid under Smith’s pull and hit him on the back foot in front of middle. 111 for 1 after 11.

Turn it from left to right

Siraj came back in the 13th over, Rashid continued, and Lions slumped. Siraj primarily bowled slower offcutters, and Rashid wrong’uns. Kishan dragged a length ball from outside off for an easy catch. Suresh Raina did the same to one on the pads. At the other end, Dinesh Karthik lobbed a gentle full toss – a wrong’un – to deep midwicket. Aaron Finch, who had been a victim of the Rashid googly in the previous matches between these two sides, picked the wrong’un this time but still missed with the slog sweep. Five wickets had fallen in 19 balls, and Lions now desperately needed to recalibrate.

Ravindra Jadeja and James Faulkner looked to do that with 19 off the next 17 balls, but the moment they went back to big hits, the quality of the Sunrisers attack shone through. Siraj, Siddarth Kaul and Bhuvneshwar Kumar kept hitting the stumps, and Jadeja was left stranded on 20 off 14 balls.

Praveen gives Lions hope

This was Lions’ last IPL match with their contract as a franchise coming to an end. It seemed they were doing a nostalgia night when they picked Praveen Kumar and Munaf Patel ahead of the younger Dhawal Kulkarni and Basil Thampi. The intensity dropped in the field, but Praveen showed canniness with the wickets of Shikhar Dhawan and Moises Henriques in the third over: Dhawan with the slower offcutter, Henriques with the outswinger. Sunrisers 25 for 3 after three.

Warner breaks away, and gets Sunrisers home

Both Warner and Shankar took time to get into their innings. At the end of the fifth over, Warner was on 7 off 12 and Shankar 2 off five. The asking rate had crossed eight. Lions needed to build on this, but they just didn’t have the resources, playing as they were with only three overseas players. Warner got going with Faulkner’s over – the sixth – and some lazy fielding meant the runs kept coming. The final chance for Lions came in the 10th over, when Ultra Edge showed Warner had edged legspinner Ankit Soni through to Karthik. Warner wasn’t given, and he followed it up with two fours in the same over. Shankar, too, found his touch and went past Warner’s strike rate as both notched up fifties to cap it off. It ended with another IPL record: the highest team score without a six.

Credit:@ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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