Sunrisers overcome Markande scare in last-ball thriller
Sunrisers Hyderabad 148 for 9 (Dhawan 44, Hooda 32*, Markande 4-23) beat Mumbai Indians 147 for 8 (Lewis 29, Pollard 28, Sandeep 2-25, Kaul 2-29) by one wicket. Mumbai Indians weaved magic yet again at the venue of their unprecedented third IPL triumph to come back from the dead, but were pipped at the finishing line by Deepak Hooda, the man who they doled out INR 3.6 crores for at the auction. His unbeaten 32 constituted a sensational final-over six off a wide yorker off Ben Cutting that reduced the equation to five off five deliveries. A wide and three singles reduced it to one needed off the final delivery. Billy Stanlake, the No. 11, nervously examined the field, contemplated his options and then hoicked the slower delivery to the midwicket fence to deliver a one-wicket win and send a strong crowd of 30,000 into delirium. Dhawan wicket triggers collapse A slap to the extra cover boundary off his first delivery set the tone for yet another dominating knock. Without scoreboard pressure early in the chase, Shikhar Dhawan simply trusted his instincts and hit everything through the line to bludgeon his way to his second successive half-century. The first one, against Rajasthan Royals, came off 33 deliveries. He was set to shade that by muscling his way to 45 off 27 balls, before falling off his 28th when he top-edged a sweep to Jasprit Bumrah at fine leg. This triggered a sensational collapse.
At 20, Mayank Markande’s confidence to execute his variations have been impressive. He foxed Wriddhiman Saha with a shortish googly that beat the inside edge to hit the pad, with an lbw appeal given out on review. Dhawan holed out to fine leg and Manish Pandey’s ugly hoick resulted in a leading edge taken by Rohit at short mid-off. There were nerves in the Sunrisers camp now, and Shakib had them biting off their fingernails when he chopped on. They had sensationally slipped from 73 for 1 to 107 for 5. This was still very much Sunrisers’ game, but there were many more twists. Yusuf Pathan and Deepak Hooda brought them to within 12 runs of victory, before Jasprit Bumrah delivered two vital strikes. Yusuf mistimes a skiddy bouncer to Kieron Pollard at midwicket and Rashid Khan was snuffed out by a full delivery that took the edge to the keeper. Mustafizur Rahman then delivered a stellar penultimate over, taking two wickets and conceding just one to leave Hooda a herculean task. His modus operandi was simple: varying his length to cutters. Sandeep Sharma’s attempted scoop resulted in a catch to short fine, while Siddarth Kaul chipped one back as Mustafizur held on to a superb reflex-action catch. Now, with 11 off one over, Hooda exhibited tremendous calm to see the game through.
In Sandeep, Sunrisers had Bhuvneshwar’s like-for-like replacement. Handed a debut for Sunrisers after being picked up for INR 3 crore (USD 468,000 approx) at the auction, he didn’t let them down. In his very first over, he got the ball to dart back in and then straighten to beat Rohit. This would be a recurring theme for the evening as he troubled the batsmen with his zip off the pitch. His reward were the wickets of a well-set Suryakumar Yadav, the lone batsman to show any sort of fight for Mumbai in the middle overs, and Pradeep Sangwan, at the death. In Kaul, Sandeep’s state-mate at Punjab, Sunrisers have an equally effective bowler. He may not set the speed guns crackling, but is capable of hurrying the batsmen with his skid. His knuckleball to dismiss a dangerous-looking Evin Lewis, who had smashed three fours and two sixes in his 17-ball 29 as an opener, set the tone for Sunrisers’ domination. The pair finished with combined figures of 4 for 54 between them off eight overs.
If the seamers were not stifling enough, Mumbai Indians were slowly choked by Rashid Khan, who bowled 18 dot balls, the most by a spinner in the IPL, to finish with figures of 4-0-13-1. This meant Mumbai were devoid of any sort of momentum through the innings, with the highest partnership being the 38-run stand for the sixth wicket between Kieron Pollard and Suryakumar Yadav. Rashid, as usual, varied his googlies and fast legbreaks with subtle changes in length on a surface where there was true bounce to keep Mumbai quiet. Losing a wicket every time they looked for a release resulted in the batsmen having to buckle down and delay their slog. This played right into Rashid’s hands. When it got to a stage where the batsmen had no choice but to slog, Rashid got his only wicket of the night as a charging Ben Cutting misread a googly and was bowled in the 18th over.
Sure the format demands belligerence, but Mumbai hovered between uber-aggressive and reckless. Ishan Kishan’s dismissal, slicing an attempted heave to third man in the sixth over, demonstrated this. In the very first over, Rohit too was guilty of trying to slog the ball, but was lucky to be reprieved by Hooda, who put down a catch running backwards from midwicket. Fortunately, this didn’t cost Hyderabad much as he eventually failed to keep a flick down and was caught at square leg by Shakib Al Hasan. Krunal Pandya, promoted to No. 5, chipped a simple catch to cover while Pollard set himself up for the end overs but ended up checking his shot to be caught at deep cover for a 23-ball 28 with 5.1 overs to play. Mumbai were 110 for 5 then, possibly looking at 160. That wasn’t to be. With their bowling attack, 147 may have still been enough on another night.