Rising Pune Supergiants v Sunrisers Hyderabad, IPL 2016, Visakhapatnam May 10, 2016

Sunrisers defend 137 to go top of the table

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Sunrisers Hyderabad 137 for 8 (Dhawan 33, Williamson 32, Zampa 6-19) beat Rising Pune Supergiants 133 for 8 (Bailey 34, Dhoni 30, Nehra 3-29) by four runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Adam Zampa's figures of 6 for 19 were the second-best in IPL history © BCCI

Sunrisers Hyderabad possess perhaps the best - and certainly the most in-form - pace attack in the IPL, and this proved decisive in bowler-friendly conditions that produced a low-scoring thriller against Rising Pune Supergiants in Visakhapatnam. There was turn, and R Ashwin and Adam Zampa - whose figures of 6 for 19 were the second-best in the tournament's history - helped keep Sunrisers to 137, but there was also swing for the new ball, a bit of bounce, and grip for Mustafizur Rahman's cutters.

The chase was a chess game. MS Dhoni promoted George Bailey and Ashwin to Nos. 3 and 4 after the early loss of both openers, with the third-wicket pair ostensibly instructed to push the ball around and stabilise Supergiants' innings, given the modest required rate. Bailey and Ashwin put on 49 in eight overs, and when the partnership ended Supergiants needed 70 from 48 balls. Dhoni didn't walk in then; he came in with 60 required from 40.

It eventually came down to 42 off the last four, and Dhoni and Thisara Perera, conscious of the risk of hitting out against Mustafizur, were content to take singles and twos against the left-armer. The ploy kept Mustafizur wicketless, even as he conceded only 13 off his last two overs. Dhoni and Perera made up for that in the 18th over, in which they took 15 off Bhuvneshwar Kumar, but they were still left needing 14 from the last over.

Ashish Nehra started the final over with a full ball that Perera couldn't get under, and then a perfect yorker that Dhoni could only hit for one. Perera skied the third ball to extra cover, leaving 12 to get off the last three. Dhoni hammered the first of them - a full toss - over the wide long-on boundary, but when he was run out going for a second that didn't really exist - he went for it because he simply had to - Zampa was left needing to hit a six off the last ball, or a four to tie. He only managed an outside edge to a flying Naman Ojha behind the stumps as Nehra closed the match with a wide yorker.

The win took Sunrisers top of the points table, and left Supergiants with close to no chance of qualifying for the playoffs.

The captain winning the toss had chosen to bowl in each of the 20 IPL games that preceded this one, and David Warner raised a few eyebrows - including Dhoni's - by opting to bat. Given the swing and bounce available to the quicks, a traditional good length was a pretty good T20 length as well, and Ashok Dinda and RP Singh, by dint of denying the batsmen width, kept Sunrisers to 34 in the first six overs, while dismissing Warner.

Ashwin, often used sporadically by Dhoni in recent weeks, came on at the start of the non-Powerplay overs, and immediately found the pitch to his liking. His third ball spun from just outside off stump and turned a long way down the leg side, beating not just the advancing Kane Williamson but Dhoni as well. His fourth dipped on Shikhar Dhawan, left him searching far out in front of his body for a flick, and ran off the leading edge through point.

Ashwin finished his full quota in one go, dangling the ball above the batsmen's eye-line and teasing them with dip and turn. He got Dhawan to hole out in his third over, and only conceded one run in his fourth, with two slips breathing down Yuvraj Singh's neck.

When Ashwin finished his spell, Sunrisers were 70 for 2 in 13 overs. Williamson and Yuvraj hit two fours and two sixes in the next two, off Rajat Bhatia and Perera, before the advancing Yuvraj skewed a Zampa googly to long-off. Williamson and Henriques took 12 off the 17th, bowled by Perera, before Zampa dismissed both of them in the 18th, off successive balls. Both holed out to long-off, but the bowler played a big role in at least one of the dismissals, forcing Williamson to reach out for a wide legbreak.

Dinda came back for the 19th, and - in hindsight - bowled a match-turning over, conceding 15. The four and six in that over came off attempted yorkers that didn't miss the mark by much, but by enough. Ojha whipped the leg-stump half-volley, and Deepak Hooda deposited the full-toss high over midwicket.

Dhoni, often averse to bowling spinners in the end overs, threw the ball back to Zampa. Hooda ran down and hit his first ball for six, but the bowler saw him stepping out again and fired in a wide legbreak. Then, off the last three balls of the innings, he bowled Ojha off the thigh pad with a slider, saw RP Singh put a skier down off Barinder Sran at short third man, and had Bhuvneshwar caught at long-on. Little would he have known then, as he walked off smiling, that he would be called on to bat with a boundary required off the last ball of the match.

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Krishen on May 12, 2016, 5:01 GMT

    IND has produced many a great cricketer but 5 biggest jewels in crown of IND cricket are 1. Sachin 2. Dhoni 3. Gavaskar 4. Kapil 5. Dravid. Concluding captaincy as good / bad after a team win / team loss is inappropriate. Cricket is a team sport & victories are secured by a team with a superior collective batting, bowling & fielding performance (with minimal errors) over the opponents. Captains can only marginally optimise team performances. Captain must make contributions in role as player, in wins, stand up in tough situations. MSD has just done that. With MSD as captain IND has won 3 world titles & in last 3 yrs won 7 tests, ODI series in ENG 2014, T20 series in AUS 2016, reached final of WT20 2014/ SF CWC 2015/SF WT20 2016 etc. RPS has significant resource shortfall for a captain (with 2 IPL/2 CPL titles) compared to IPL8. RPS have missed opportunities of wins v RCB(2),KKR,GL & SRH through errors including 5 run outs in power play. RPS need to go for wins in 3 remaining matches.

  • Vilayanur on May 12, 2016, 2:17 GMT

    Dhoni is on a serious decline for four years running. He is not able to deliver the runs when needed. He has misused Ashwin, who actually has a decent economy rate. He always blames his teammates for losses - sometimes it is one player, sometimes it is the bowlers, sometimes it is a batsman.

    A mirror may help, Mr. Dhoni sir.

  • niaz on May 11, 2016, 15:19 GMT

    SRH will be a perennial powerhouse soecially Mustafiz is playing (barring BD schedule and injuries). He is the new Narine except he is a better bowler at death (because he is faster). Add Bhuvi's swing at top and Nehera is bowls well at the beginning and at death. And Sran and Henrique are not too bad. When Warner plays well at this end they can easily cross the par score. The value of high SR at the top cannot be denied. Because even the best bowler would not mind giving 8 runs at the death. Yuvraj is a bit shaky and Williamson may be slow. But they can always replace some pieces. And Nehara may not be as good in a year or two (they will probably keep Sran and add a spinner). Henrique's batting (both attacking and defending has been good). Hooda can attack. MI and GL are other two teams with a lots of pieces. But SRH just looks better.

  • T on May 11, 2016, 14:46 GMT

    RPS and Dhoni have clearly been uNlucky this season. Most of the matches they lost against top teams were close games. They are a new side and it will take time to gel together. MSD has got more than the best out of the bunch he has been given - that is the hallmark of a great captain. We shall see a dramatic improvement next IPL 2017! Cheers MSD & RPS!!

  •   Anand Raj on May 11, 2016, 14:42 GMT

    Feel really sad for the RPS owners they have selecteda captain who has not xome out from his CSK Dreams,Irony is He has become so arrogant and bigger than cricket individual i wonder anybody can question his tactics or plan let it be BCCI or RPS owners-but this is nearing to the End soon

  • Iliyaz Kamal on May 11, 2016, 14:21 GMT

    once again dhoni missed a trick called irfan pathan

  • mukesh on May 11, 2016, 14:05 GMT

    First couple of matches lot of my friends here were worried if this SRH team has filled it's needs in auction ? Boy we did have best auction this time.Adding missing pieces Fizz, nehraji, Yuvi n hooda. These guys showing great value congrats to think tank . Really appreciate boys efforts after getting bogged down early cos of injuries! !Warner looks awesome at top but real SRH starts with ball in hand . Happy to see team backing bowlers n batting first which is rarest of rarity in IPL 2016!

  • Sazzad bin on May 11, 2016, 13:37 GMT

    For the last four match I think SRH should rest Henriques and play T.boult.

  • Ravi Kiran on May 11, 2016, 12:59 GMT

    T20 World cup winner, World cup winner, Test # 1 team captain and CT winner; impressive resume. But all we want to forget is, 5 continuous T20 WC losses, 1 WC Loss, countless test losses, series losses with 0 (home and away); pushed #2 team in the tests to #1 and brought it back to #5 or below?? ODI, T20 series losses at home. This is not criticism, pure facts. Unfortunately we don't want to see both sides. When we lose we want team to take the responsibility, but for wins we need heroes. Yes, he played well, lead well and had a lot of assistance from outside factors. But now things slowly started fading, it happens to all. One more thing we should look at; what is your contribution to the "future" of Indian cricket???

  • Gnaneshwar Raju on May 11, 2016, 12:59 GMT

    @sam6e, He has become best finisher on selecting a particular bowler to attack or defend..it worked so well for him and his team to win matches. nothing to take away from fizz. fizz relied on pace to bowl a good 19th over rathan than slow balls.