'Amazing to be in top four' - Dhawan
In a must-win situation Sunrisers Hyderabad registered yet another win at their home ground, this time against defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders, and became the fourth team to qualify for the playoffs in their first season under new ownership. Shikhar Dhawan, the opening batsman, told the IPL site that it was "amazing to see our name in the top four", after not many had given the team a chance.
Kris Srikkanth, Sunrisers' mentor, was also overjoyed with the result and compared the team's successful league-stage run to that of the Indian team during the 1983 World Cup.
"My memories went down to the 1983 World Cup," Srikkanth told the site. "Nobody gave us a chance in the World Cup that year, but we qualified and won at the end of the day. The feeling today is quite similar as no one gave the Sunrisers a chance in the tournament, and today we have qualified for the playoffs."
Chasing 131, Dhawan set up the platform with an 89-run opening partnership with Parthiv Patel, before the team slumped to 112 for 5 in the 18th over. But Darren Sammy shrugged the team's nervousness aside with two consecutive sixes in the penultimate over to spark wild celebrations.
"I feel it was a great opening partnership between me and Parthiv," Dhawan said. "We got off to a good start and did the job for our team. Also, hats off to Darren Sammy who held his nerve to finish the game for us."
Once again Sunrisers' bowlers didn't allow a visiting team to go past 130 (as has been the case in all games except in the one against Chennai Super Kings), despite the absence of Ishant Sharma, who missed out due to illness. His replacement, Anand Rajan, gave away 22 runs in his four overs and picked up a wicket to maintain the team's strong showing in the field.
"We have a lethal bowling attack with Dale Steyn and Ishant Sharma adding firepower in the beginning and at the death; and we have quality spinners like Amit Mishra and Karan Sharma who thrive in pairs in the mid-innings," Dhawan said. "We have a similar logic with respect to our batting too."
Sunrisers will now face Rajasthan Royals in the Eliminator, which is to be played in Delhi on Wednesday.