It was a repeat of the 2020 IPL for KL Rahul and his men, as Punjab Kings once again managed to defend a low score against Sunrisers Hyderabad to keep their hopes alive in the competition. A sublime bowling effort by Mohammed Shami, Ravi Bishnoi and Nathan Ellis meant that Punjab Kings claimed a five run win over SRH on Saturday night at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
Batting first on the night, KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal started off cautiously, as they scored at a little over than a run a ball for the first three overs. That disciplined start yielded the Sunrisers bowlers an early wicket, as Jason Holder struck off his very first ball to send Rahul back to the hut.
The West Indian all-rounder struck a couple of balls later too, this time dismissing fellow opener Agarwal to leave the batting team at 29/2 at the end of the powerplay. Having lost those two openers early on, Chris Gayle and Aiden Markram played with restraint in the overs that followed. The duo picked up a boundary each in the 9th and 10th over to get the scoring rate closer to six.
Rashid Khan though brought about a wicket once again for SRH, as he trapped Gayle plumb in front of the wicket. Gayle was replaced by countryman Nicholas Pooran, who started brightly as he smacked Sandeep Sharma for a huge six over cow corner. The Indian seamer however had the last laugh, as he caught Pooran off his own bowling in the same over to leave the Punjab Kings at 68/4.
Markram continued to play his shots, as he caressed one over the infield to pick up his second four of the evening. However, it proved to be one shot too many for the South African, as he hit one straight down the throat of long off when Abdul Samad came to bowl, as half the team was now back to the pavilion for the Punjab Kings.
Deepak Hooda as the last recognised batsman heaved one over the infield to pick up a much needed boundary for the team. He tried to repeat the same shot against Holder the next over as well, but this time lost his wicket thanks to a stunning catch by substitute J Suchith. Boundaries continued to be difficult to come by for the Kings, as they ambled their way to 111/6 after 19 overs.
In the final over, PBKS debutant Nathan Ellis connected one as he hit Bhuvneshwar Kumar straight down the ground for a six. Harpreet Brar also managed a four in the final few balls as the Punjab Kings ended their innings at 125/7 after 20 overs.
Mohammed Shami’s second over, where he managed to deliver a wicket maiden while dismissing Kane Williamson was the turning point as it completely derailed the chasing team.
In reply, Punjab Kings needed an early wicket and Mohammed Shami delivered just what the doctor ordered, as he dismissed the dangerous David Warner in the very first over. The Indian seamer struck again in his next over, this time knocking over opposition skipper Kane Williamson.
Fellow pacers Nathan Ellis and Arshdeep Singh also delivered economical overs to restrict Sunrisers Hyderabad to their lowest ever score in the powerplay, 20/2. The chasing team managed just one boundary in the powerplay overs as the game turned completely on its head.
With the field restrictions lifted, KL Rahul introduced spin into the attack and the move immediately struck gold, as Ravi Bishnoi knocked over Manish Pandey with a wrong one in his very first over, leaving the chasing team at 39/3 after nine.
The spinners continued to be miserly with their bowling, as the chasing team didn’t get a single boundary between overs 9-12. The pressure was relentless, and new man Kedar Jadhav caved in shortly after, as he chopped one back onto his stumps off Bishnoi’s bowling. The young leg spinner picked up a third for the evening too, as he induced a thickish outside edge off Samad’s bat that flew straight to short third.
The 15th over finally saw the chasing team break their boundary jinx, as Jason Holder freed his arms to hit Bishnoi for a six. The former West Indian captain added two more maximums off Nathan Ellis’ bowling as well, as Sunrisers suddenly sensed a route back into the contest, as the team score climbed to 91/6.
Punjab Kings though immediately got themselves back in the game, as opener Wriddhiman Saha was run out by bowler Arshdeep. The left-arm seamer followed that up by conceding just five runs of the remaining deliveries, as the asking rate once again climbed beyond 10.
Holder kept the game exciting for the chasing team, as he hit Shami over his head for a six to reduce the equation to 21 off the final two overs. Arshdeep once again quelled the nerves for his team, as he dismissed Rashid Khan caught and bowled. He conceded just four in his final over, leaving teammate Ellis with 17 to defend in the 20th over of the match.
Jason Holder got a six in the final over as well, to leave the equation at nine of four balls. Nathan Ellis however held his nerve to deliver a win for his team, as the Sunrisers Hyderabad fell short by five runs.
Punjab Kings play their next game on Tuesday against the Mumbai Indians in Abu Dhabi.