Such was the menace Dwayne Smith and Ishan Kishan posed, after David Warner had elected to field in Kanpur, that Mohammed Siraj
, who had gone for 22 runs in two overs inside the Powerplay, had the second-best economy rate for a Sunrisers Hyderabad bowler in the period. Gujarat Lions had the first ten overs of the match firmly clenched - 105 for no loss, a proper use of all the batting novelties offered by Kanpur. Sunrisers looked to have played themselves into trouble, especially after making the hard call of replacing Yuvraj Singh with Deepak Hooda.
With ten wickets still in hand, Lions could've been looking at anywhere between 12-14 runs per over to ruin the qualification prospects of the team that had ended their campaign last year. However, Siraj got in the way at two crucial junctures in the second half of their innings.
The first time was in the 13th over. Dwayne Smith had fallen two overs previously, and now Ishan Kishan was looking to capitalise on the start. At the other end was Suresh Raina. The onus was on this pair to keep the momentum going. Kishan, despite making a fifty, hadn't found the middle of the bat too often. Sensing this, Siraj sent down two offcutters to him; the second one caught the top-edge, and unlike many of Kishan's previous mis-hits, went to a fielder. He repeated this against Raina, an offcutter at leg stump, and had him hole out to deep square leg. The Lions' focus had to shift to preservation now.
Ravindra Jadeja and James Faulkner, the last of their recognised batsmen, managed that briefly. Eighteen balls together had nearly taken them to the end of the 17th. That was still enough time to put up a decent total, especially against a team gunning for qualification. But this time, Siraj brought out reverse swing as his weapon of choice and took Faulkner's leg stump; that would be the end of the Lions' repair job. And he commemorated it by cleaning up Pradeep Sangwan next ball.
The ball Siraj bowled to Faulkner before removing him was the perfect yorker. He saw Faulkner back away to make room, and followed him. This, despite missing the previous yorker attempt and conceding four to the long leg boundary.
The yorker tailed in late and floored Faulkner. He had to scramble to get to the non-strikers end, where Siraj nearly had him run-out as well. He had tied that one-on-one battle with some vigour before eventually triumphing. This was only the second time that Mohammed Siraj has taken a four-wicket haul in T20s.
Siraj became the fourth Sunrisers bowlers to reach ten wickets this season