Lucknow Super Giants 169 for 7 (Rahul 68, Hooda 51, Natarajan 2-26, Washington 2-28, Shepherd 2-42) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 157 for 9 (Tripathi 44, Pooran 34, Avesh 4-24, Holder 3-34) by 12 runs
Reduced to 27 for 3 after being sent in, Super Giants recovered to set a target of 170, and Avesh took two powerplay wickets to put them firmly in front. But Sunrisers took the initiative with quickfire knocks from Rahul Tripathi and Nicholas Pooran; at one stage, they needed 27 from 17 balls with six wickets in hand. But Avesh turned it around once again with two wickets in two balls in the 18th over, and two more solid death overs from Andrew Tye and Jason Holder, playing his first game of the season, completed the job.
Washington dominates powerplay
Sunrisers didn't open the bowling with Washington Sundar in their first match against Rajasthan Royals, but they had a clear case to do so against Super Giants. One of their openers, Quinton de Kock, was a left-hander, and the other, KL Rahul, has struggled to score quickly against offspin of late, his strike rate against that style of bowling dropping from 176.66 until the end of 2019.
Washington made an even bigger impact than Sunrisers may have hoped for. He dismissed de Kock by denying him room to hit inside-out, and took out another left-hander in Evin Lewis, who fell in the dangerous pursuit of sweeping every ball from a bowler who targets the stumps incessantly. With Rahul and Manish Pandey - another right-hander who starts slowly against spin - taking no chances against him either, Washington ended the powerplay with figures of 3-0-11-2.
Romario Shepherd's hard lengths took out Pandey, meanwhile, after he had conceded a six and a four earlier in the over, and Super Giants finished the powerplay at 32 for 3.
A partnership of contrasts
In both 2020 and 2021, Rahul came in for plenty of criticism for his low-risk approach in the powerplay and middle overs, which brought him plenty of runs but also left the feeling that his franchise at the time, Punjab Kings, frequently ended up with lower-than-ideal totals even when they didn't lose too many wickets. That approach was more understandable in this game, given the situation Super Giants got themselves into.
At the other end, Hooda adopted a different approach, after taking 12 balls to get his eye in. The rapid Umran Malik bore the brunt of the punishment, with three fours and a six pinging off Hooda's bat. It wasn't that Malik bowled particularly badly: Hooda played some exceptional shots off him, including an open-faced slice to steer a near-yorker past backward point and a whipped six off a short ball angled in to tuck him up for room. There was also a ramped six that the leaping third man fielder - stationed fine for exactly that shot - got a hand to but couldn't grab hold of.
Rahul also hit two fours off Malik, and his second and third overs - the 10th and 14th of Super Giants' innings - went for a combined 36. Even with Sunrisers' other bowlers doing decently through this phase, Super Giants' recovery was firmly on track.
Bhuvneshwar and Natarajan nail the yorkers
Malik's poor night forced Sunrisers into using Washington's fourth over - which they probably weren't planning to bowl - in the 17th over. Rahul and Ayush Badoni - who replaced Hooda following his dismissal in the 16th over - took it for 17.
Badoni and Holder then took 17 off Shepherd in the 20th over, but in between, Bhuvneshwar and T Natarajan ensured Sunrisers wouldn't be chasing too steep a target, with expert use of the yorker - if they erred, they sent down low full-tosses rather than half-volleys, and they always followed the batters' movements with their line, ensuring they seldom got room to free their arms. Super Giants only took a combined 15 runs off the 18th and 19th overs, and lost Rahul and Krunal Pandya in the process.
Avesh, part one
Sunrisers began their chase solidly enough, getting to 21 for no loss after three overs, with Kane Williamson picking up an eye-catching six behind the wicket with a scoop over the keeper off Holder in the third over.
But just when Williamson's form was beginning to look ominous - he punched Avesh to the cover point boundary at the start of the fourth over - Avesh got him out, another attempted lap over short fine leg ending up in the hands of the fielder.
Abhishek Sharma, the other opener, fell in Avesh's next over, miscuing an attempted big hit off a slower ball, and Sunrisers ended the powerplay at 40 for 2.
One way, then the other, and back
The middle overs seesawed this way and that. Rahul Tripathi clattered 44 off 30, including taking three fours off the eighth over, delivered by Andrew Tye - the highlight a deft ramp over the keeper off a rising short ball. But Krunal took both him and Aiden Markram out, leaving Sunrisers needing 75 off 41 with six wickets in hand and two new batters at the crease.
Pooran began not just slowly but also most unconvincingly, as Ravi Bishnoi beat his outside edge three times in four balls with his wrong'un allied to his across-the-left-hander angle. But he muscled Krunal for a leg-side six in the 14th over and hit Holder for two fours in the 15th, before ending the 16th with a glorious drive to bisect extra-cover and long-off, off Bishnoi, to leave Sunrisers needing 41 off 24. The match was turning once again.
Avesh, part two
Tye's changes of pace and ability to land the ball wide of the left-handers' hitting arc ensured he only conceded eight runs in the 17th over, with its one boundary coming via a lofted drive from Washington.
Then, with Sunrisers needing 33 from 18, Pooran miscued a pull off Avesh only for the ball to carry all the way for six. The luck turned two balls later, as Pooran hit a full-toss straight into long-off's hands.
Then Avesh nicked off Abdul Samad first ball, delivering another blow to Sunrisers' chances, before closing out the over with two dots and a wide, backing the wide line outside off to Shepherd.
Tye delivered another superb over in the 19th, but just when Sunrisers seemed to be slipping out of the contest with 22 required off 8, an attempted yorker turned into a full-toss that Shepherd launched for a straight six.
Sixteen of the last over was possible, though difficult. And it proved even more difficult thanks to the new rule regarding batters crossing over. Looking to hit the first ball for six, Washington was caught on the long-on boundary. Where Shepherd may have taken strike next ball in previous seasons, he now had to watch Bhuvneshwar from the other end.
Two singles followed, before Bhuvneshwar holed out. Again, Shepherd couldn't take strike, and with two sixes needed just to tie the game, the match was all but over.
Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo