Indian Premier League

Punjab Kings made three changes to their side and sealed a comfortable five-wicket win over SRH in their final league match to finish their Tata Indian Premier League 2022 on a positive note at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium on Sunday night.

Prior to the encounter, both teams were already eliminated from the Tata IPL playoffs for the season. Nathan Ellis and Shahrukh Khan returned to the playing XI for the PBKS after a break this season, while Prerak Mankad made his debut in the Kings’ colours.SRH made two changes with Romario Shepherd replacing skipper Kane Williamson and Suchith replacing Natarajan.

The Sunrisers Hyderabad, led by stand-in captain Bhuvneshwar Kumar, won the toss and chose to bat first. Kagiso Rabada drew first blood in the third over when a cross-seam delivery found SRH opener Priyam Garg’s leading edge before landing in Mayank Agarwal’s hands at mid-off.

While PBKS bowlers restricted SRH to 43/1 in the powerplay, Abhishek Sharma and Rahul Tripathi stitched together a 47-run stand before the latter fell for 20 (18) but Brar accounted for both in his first spell. Sharma went on to score 43 (32) before holing out to Livingstone at long on off, leaving SRH at 79/3 in 11 overs.

Nathan Ellis then sent potential danger-man Nicholar Pooran (5 off 10) away with a fullish delivery which was edged to Jitesh Sharma. Aiden Markram contributed 21 (17) before Brar drew out a stumping opportunity that the wicketkeeper Jitesh Sharma did full justice to. He finished with numbers 4-0-26-3. SRH were at 96/5 in 15 overs.

Romario Shepherd and Washington Sundar put on a good batting display for the sixth wicket, scoring 58 in 29 deliveries, including a 17-run and a 19-run over. A slower off-cutter from Ellis in the last over finally accounted for Sundar, who left after scoring 25 (19).

It was followed by an eventful sequence of Suchith’s golden duck, a run out off a no-ball to send back Bhuvneshwar, then Umran being bowled before surviving a run out off the subsequent free hit - the last legal ball of the innings. Ellis finished with 40/3, while Arshdeep Singh and Liam Livingstone bowled economically, giving away just 25 runs each in their four overs. Sunrisers were restricted to 157/8 in their 20 overs.

Jonny Bairstow accelerated right away, taking the team to 28 in three overs, before losing his wicket for 23 (15). Shahrukh Khan was promoted to no.3 on return and he saw the team to 62/1 by the end of the powerplay along with Shikhar Dhawan.

Khan’s innings came to an end in Umran Malik’s first over after scoring 19 (10). Mayank Agarwal, who replaced Khan, took a painful blow on the ribs first ball before departing in the next over to Washington Sundar’s delivery. However, Liam Livingstone came in next and immediately got off the mark with a maximum, displaying his intentions right away.

The English batter and Dhawan shared a 41-run partnership that came off just 22 deliveries before the southpaw fell after a knock of 39 (32), bringing Jitesh Sharma in. The Kings sat comfortably at 120/4 in the 13th over mark, needing 38 off the last 42.

At the end of the 14th over, Sharma succumbed to a Suchith delivery, but not before he had hit 19 off 7, including Tata IPL’s 999th six of the season. As the team entered the 15th over, they needed just 25 off the last 30 balls.

On-strike Livingstone then produced magic against Romario Shepherd, scoring 22 runs in a 23-run over. The 15th over read wd, 4, 0, 2, 6, 4, 6. The first maximum, the 1000th six of the Tata IPL, fittingly scored by Livingstone, was a 97 metre monster. The big over left the Kings needing just two more runs to seal the game.

Debutant Prerak Mankad scored a four off his first delivery to finish it off for PBKS in style, sealing a five-wicket win. Livingstone’s 49* (22) ensured that despite the Kings’ run at the Tata IPL 2022 coming to an end, the team finished in high spirits.

The team finished at the sixth position on the IPL points table with 14 points off 14 games, winning seven matches and with a net run rate of +0.126. It has been a two-month run of good memories, close misses and of course, some memorable moments for the fans.

Until next time, Sher Squad!