Punjab Kings' captain Shikhar Dhawan led from the front with a spectacular innings but it was Sunrisers Hyderabad who came out on top with an eight-wicket win in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 encounter at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on Sunday, April 9.

The Kings rode on Dhawan’s unbeaten 99 off 66 balls to post 143/9 in their 20 overs. In reply, Rahul Tripathi’s unbeaten 48-ball 74 and Aiden Markram’s 37 not out off 21 balls guided SRH to their first win of IPL 2023.

Earlier, SRH skipper Markram won the toss and opted to field first. Heinrich Klaasen and Mayank Markande were handed their SRH caps. They also named Abdul Samad, Mayank Dagar, Upendra Yadav, Glenn Phillips and Akeal Hosein as their substitutes.

On the other hand, Matthew Short and Mohit Rathee made their IPL debut for the Punjab Kings. Meanwhile, the visitors named Rishi Dhawan, Harpreet Singh Bhatia, Atharva Taide, Sikandar Raza and Kagiso Rabada as substitutes.

Prabhsimran Singh and Dhawan opened the innings for PBKS. However, they suffered an early blow as Prabhsimran was trapped in front of the stumps by Bhuvneshwar Kumar on the very first ball of the match.

The visitors soon lost their second wicket as debutant Short was dismissed by left-arm pacer Marco Jansen for 1.

Wicketkeeper-batter Jitesh Sharma joined Dhawan in the middle. The duo added 12 runs before Jitesh (4) also perished to Jansen.

Punjab Kings’ star all-rounder Sam Curran walked out to bat. Curran and captain Dhawan played some counter-attacking cricket to put the pressure back on the bowlers.

The two left-handed batters stitched an impressive 41-run stand for the fourth wicket to keep the scoreboard moving. 

Mayank Markande later broke the partnership as he removed Curran for a 15-ball 22.

Following Curran’s dismissal, the Kings introduced Sikandar Raza as their impact player in place of Prabhsimran.

The tourists soon succumbed to another blow as impact player Raza departed for 5. 

Markande soon bagged his second wicket as he dismissed Shahrukh Khan (4) to reduce the Kings to 74/6.

PBKS kept losing wickets at regular intervals as Harpreet Brar (1) was later cleaned up by Umran Malik.

Leg-spinner Markande continued his brilliant spell as he removed Rahul Chahar (0) and Nathan Ellis (0) to finish with figures of 4-0-15-4.

At the other end, captain Dhawan played some scintillating shots to notch up his fifty off 42 balls. This was the southpaw’s second consecutive half-century in IPL 2023, laced with eight fours and two sixes.

Even after reaching his fifty, Dhawan continued to enthrall the fans as he smashed the SRH bowlers to all parts of the ground. Interestingly, Mohit Rathee supported Dhawan as they forged an unbeaten 55-run stand for the 10th wicket - which is now the highest in IPL history.  

Dhawan’s magnificent knock of unbeaten 99 runs helped the Kings post a fighting total on the board. While the PBKS captain missed his century by just one run, the left-handed batter became the Orange Cap holder of IPL 2023 with 225 runs in just three matches. 

Chasing 144, Harry Brook and Mayank Agarwal opened the innings for SRH. The opening pair added 27 runs off 23 balls before Kings’ star pacer Arshdeep Singh cleaned up Brook for 13.

Rahul Tripathi joined Agarwal at the crease. The duo stitched an 18-run stand before leg-spinner Rahul Chahar removed Agarwal for 21.

Meanwhile, Tripathi played some brilliant shots at the other end to bring up his fifty off 35 balls. 

Tripathi was well supported by SRH captain Markram as the duo forged a match-winning 100-run stand for the third wicket to help the hosts register their first victory of the season.

On the other hand, having succumbed to their first defeat of the season, the PBKS outfit is currently placed sixth in the IPL 2023 standings with four points from three matches.

The Kings will aim to bounce back quickly when they square off against defending champions Gujarat Titans in their upcoming IPL 2023 encounter at the Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali on Thursday, April 13.