Rahul Tripathi hit a match-winning half-century and kept the home fans on their feet as Sunrisers Hyderabad registered its first win of the IPL 2023 season, defeating Punjab Kings by eight wickets at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on Sunday.
Chasing 144 runs, Tripathi shouldered responsibility and scored a brilliant half-century in 36 balls - his first of the season and 11th overall in the IPL. The batter finished unbeaten on 74 off 48 balls, laced with 10 boundaries and three sixes.
Tripathi was free-flowing with the willow, playing to the merit of the ball and punishing the bowlers when they erred in length. Batting with a slightly wider stance, Tripathi bided time and adjusted to the pace and bounce of the wicket before breaking free. Tripathi also used his feet well against the spinners, employing the sweep shot to perfection.
SRH tinkered with its batting line-up once again, this time by promoting Harry Brook to open the innings. Brook and Mayank Agarwal offered a sedate start before Arshdeep Singh provided the breakthrough by castling the Englishman with a knuckleball. Brook had found a liking to the pace of Punjab bowlers by hitting three boundaries.
Agarwal was handed a life while batting on 14 as wicketkeeper Jitesh Sharma dropped the opener, but that did not hurt Punjab as Rahul Chahar ended the opener’s scratchy stay at the wicket. Skipper Aiden Markram then joined hands with Tripathi as the duo forged an unbeaten 100-run stand in 52 deliveries to hand Punjab its first loss of the season.
Earlier, Shikhar Dhawan hit a brilliant unbeaten 99 off 66 deliveries as Punjab recovered from a batting collapse to post 143 for the loss of nine wickets.
Dhawan stitched important partnerships with Sam Curran and Mohit Rathee as the Sunrisers’ bowlers erred at the death and failed to bowl out Punjab. Dhawan, along with Mohit, racked up a record 55 runs for the last wicket to help Punjab make a competitive total. The Punjab skipper’s knock comprised 12 boundaries and five sixes as he scored his 49th IPL half-century.
While Dhawan stood tall with a stellar knock, it was a procession of sorts as Marco Jansen and Bhuvneshwar Kumar made early inroads after the Sunrisers won the toss and opted to bowl.
The wickets kept falling as Sunrisers attacked by employing spin, with Mayank Markande picking a four-wicket haul and registering figures of 4-0-15-4.
Dhawan became the fourth batter in IPL history to remain unbeaten on 99 and snatched the Orange cap from Ruturaj Gaikwad. However, the night belonged to a dazzling Tripathi, who helped Sunrisers snap the losing streak.
WATCH: SRH vs PBKS match highlights and analysis in 5 mins
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