Yuvraj blitz wins it for SRH

Yuvraj Singh's 23-ball 41, studded with three fours and three sixes, won the game for Sunrisers Hyderabad against Kings XI Punjab at the PCA I. S. Bindra stadium in Mohali.

Yuvraj Singh's unbeaten 24-ball 42, coming in at four, clinched the tie for Sunrisers Hyderabad.   -  IPL Sportzpics

Returning home, Yuvraj Singh performed the role expected of him. The left-hander rescued Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) with a timely blitz against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) to ensure the team’s entry into the playoffs of the Indian Premier League (IPL) here.

The victory raised Sunrisers’ tally to 16 points. The result, of what was the 12th match for both teams, kept Kings’ tally to 10 points and dumped it out of the race for the playoffs. Chasing 180, Sunrisers made it with seven wickets and two delivers to spare.

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After man of the match Hashim Amla’s 96 justified skipper Murali Vijay’s decision to bat, the Sunrisers batsmen made amends for some ordinary display by the bowlers. Skipper David Warner top-scored with 52 (his sixth half-century of the season) with all the five batsmen on view contributing their bit.

Yuvraj’s 24-ball 42, including three sixes and as many fours, came in testing times. Resolute to prove a point against his former franchisee he once captained, Yuvraj was in his elements. But it was left to Ben Cutting, who hit two sixes and a four, to hit the winning run.

After Vijay used different bowlers, including himself, in the first seven overs, Warner and Shikhar Dhawan laid a firm foundation. Once the duo was back in the dugout – Dhawan was run out and Warner was hit wicket – with Sunrisers still needing 83 runs, the team’s middle-order rose to the occasion.

Interestingly, Warner became the third SRH batsmen, after Yuvraj and Deepak Hooda, to be out hit-wicket this season.

The Yuvraj-Hooda pair carried on the battle with some timely big hits during their 42-run stand. With 50 needed off 30 deliveries, it was anybody’s match. Off Sandeep Sharma, Yuvraj hoisted a six to maintain the run-rate but Hooda holed out in the last ball.

In the 17th over, Axar Patel gave away just two runs to brighten Kings’ prospects. But SRH hit right back by taking 19 runs off Mohit Sharma after Yuvraj and Cutting hit a six each.

Now 20 runs were needed off two overs. Sandeep’s next over leaked 11 runs, including a six by Cutting and left SRH needing nine off the final over. Yuvraj smashed a 100-metre six to tilt the scales in his team’s favour.

Earlier, Amla made his presence felt in the competition with a quality knock. Though the mild-mannered South African missed a well-deserved century by just four runs, 14 fours and three sixes underscored his importance in the squad.

He played some classical strokes on both sides of the wicket, improvised almost at will to find the ropes and most importantly, used his feet to pace and spin alike to keep the bowlers at bay. Sixteen big hits, during his stay of 19.4 overs, reflected Amla’s domination of the famed SRH bowling. He was most severe on Ashish Nehra who limped off after bowling 2.5 overs.

Looking to reach his century in the last over, Amla’s bid for a boundary ended in the waiting hands of Warner at long-off.

KXIP's innings witnessed 11 overs that leaked runs in double-digits, with the last five producing 58 runs. In the end, even this effort proved futile.

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