Sunrisers Hyderabad inflicted the third consecutive loss on Gujarat Lions with a five-wicket victory to jump to the fourth spot of the IPL at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium here on Friday.
Riding on some brilliant medium pace bowling from Mustafizur Rahman (2/17) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2/28), Hyderabad restricted the struggling Gujarat to a paltry 126 for 6 in the league game.
While chasing, Hyderabad opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan remained not out on 47 runs in 40 deliveries and saw the side home with five wickets and an over to spare.
With this win, Hyderabad now have five victories from eight games, whereas second-placed Gujarat have now lost four games in 10 matches. Kolkata Knight Riders lead the standings with 12 points – ahead on net run rate, while Delhi Daredevils have occupied the fourth spot with 10 points from eight matches.
After being asked to bat, Gujarat, coming off two successive defeats, faced some immaculate bowling from Bhuvneshwar and Ashish Nehra. Gujarat were off to a poor start losing the key wicket of West Indian power-hitter Dwayne Smith.
Both Bhuvneshwar and Nehra started with maiden overs from either end to stifle Gujarat’s opening duo of Smith and Brendon McCullum (7).
Feeling the heat in the third over, Smith’s attempt of a flash outside off only resulted in an outside edge to Mustafizur Rahman at short third man.
Coming at No 3, skipper Suresh Raina played some exquisite strokes off Kumar, including a six and a four off consecutive deliveries but succumbed on the last ball of the same over giving the pacer his second wicket. The left-hander’s 10-ball 20 was laced with one four and two sixes.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik looked vulnerable from the start and Bangladeshi pacer Mustafizur did not lose any time to sent him back for a golden duck.
Finding no support from the other end, McCullum perished after facing 19 balls to leave the visitors reeling at 34 for 4 in the eighth over.
Australian Aaron Finch and West Indian all-rounder Dwayne Bravo (20) then rescued the innings with a 45-run stand for the fifth wicket. But just when things started falling in line for the visitors, left-arm seamer Barinder Sran struck by removing Bravo.
Ravindra Jadeja (18) then joined Finch, who after being dropped on 31 by Warner at long off, went on to make an unbeaten 51. The left-right combo managed to take the Lions past the 100-run mark by the 18th over before Mustafizur broke the 27-run sixth wicket stand.
With the visitors tottering at 106 for 6 in the 19th over, Praveen Kumar (6) and Finch took the Lions to 126 for 6 in their stipulated 20 overs. Finch’s 42-ball knock was laced with three four and a six.
All the home bowlers maintained a tight line to restrict the flow of runs and pick wickets at regular intervals. Mustafizur and Bhuvneshwar were the pick of the bowlers taking two wickets each while Sran and Henriques chipped in with one wicket apiece.
In reply, David Warner scored a 17-ball 24 run cameo up front to get his team off to a positive start. After right-arm pacer Dhawal Kulkarni dismissed the home captain, Gujarat exerted pressure on the Hyderabad batting line-up with another couple of quick wickets.
New Zealander Kane Williamson (6)’s wicket was picked up by Praveen Kumar, while Dwayne Bravo removed Australian Moises Henriques (16) as they reduced the hosts to 55/3 in 9.2 overs.
Dhawan, who was batting on eighth in 14 deliveries, played a proactive role in driving Hyderabad towards the chase. The left-hander picked majority of his fours towards the square of the wicket and ticked ones and twos.
Meanwhile Yuvraj Singh, making his debut for the Hyderabad franchise, faltered as he was caught by Sangwan of Kulkarni. The stand between Dhawan and Yuvraj lasted for 26 runs as the hosts reached 81/4 in 14 overs.
Deepak Hooda played a useful cameo of 18 runs in 12 deliveries and when he got out – to Bravo.
Dhawan and Naman Ojha crossed their team over the line with ease as they won by five wickets.
Brief Scores: Gujarat Lions 126 for 6 (Aaron Finch 51, Suresh Raina 20, Ravindra Jadeja 18, Mustafizur 2 for 17, Bhuvneshwar 2 for 28). Sunrisers Hyderabad: 129/5 in 19 overs (Shikhar dhawan not out 47, David Warner 24; Dwayne Bravo 2/14, Dhawal Kulkarni (2/17)