In a low scoring encounter, two teams struggling to find their rhythm in this edition of the Indian Premier League, the Punjab Kings and the Sunrisers Hyderabad, locked horns at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. While Punjab has been guilty of squandering away commanding positions in numerous games, Sunrisers have struggled with the combination of their side and the lack of runs from their batting department. After suffering two consecutive losses in the tournament, the Kings bounced back with a five-run win against Hyderabad courtesy of clinical performance by the bowling unit led by Mohammed Shami and Ravi Bishnoi. On a sluggish wicket, the batting department of both sides struggled with their stroke play and found run-scoring a tad bit difficult on the slow surface.
After being asked to bat first, Punjab managed to post 125/7 in the first innings primarily due to the effort of Aiden Markram, who top-scored with 27. Despite Jason Holder's all-around performance of 3/19 with the ball and an unbeaten 47, Hyderabad failed to cross the line. Once again, it was the start that let Hyderabad down. Here are some of the stats from the match:
Third lowest total against SRH after batting for 20 overs
A dismal performance with the bat in the first innings resulted in the Punjab posting 125/7 in their full quota of 20 overs. With skipper KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal dismissed in the powerplay, the middle order failed to consolidate the innings. The batting unit of Punjab has been heavily reliant on their opening combination to lay a solid foundation in the initial overs. In the absence of their performance, they posted the third-lowest total against SRH after batting for the full quota of overs.
Warner's torrid run with the bat continues
One of the mainstays in the batting unit of Hyderabad, David Warner, has struggled to find form in this edition of the IPL. Warner has amassed 195 runs in the eight matches at an average of 24.4 and a strike rate of 107.7. In the two encounters played at UAE thus far, the southpaw has been dismissed cheaply. This also has been one of the significant reasons for Hyderabad’s dismal batting performance in this IPL. This is by far the worst first eight matches of an IPL season for Warner, barring his debut season in 2009 where he played only seven matches.
Initial stutter for SRH
Chasing 126, Sunrisers lost two of their most experienced players, Warner and Williamson, inside the first three overs. While Warner was caught in the first over, the skipper managed to get an inside edge onto the stumps. With two quick wickets, SRH were on the back foot and tried to steady the innings with Wriddhiman Saha and Manish Pandey in the middle. Hence, the acceleration required vanished in thin air. Hyderabad managed to post only 20 runs in the first six, the lowest for them in their IPL history. Their previous lowest score in this phase came against Rajasthan in 2013, where they found themselves reeling at 21/3 in Hyderabad.
The lowest target SRH have failed to achieve in IPL
Over the last couple of years, Hyderabad and Punjab have been involved in a couple of low-scoring thrillers. In the previous edition of the IPL, Sunrisers failed to chase down the target of 127 runs set by Punjab in Dubai. However, this time around, the Orange Army fell agonizingly short by five runs in pursuit of 126 runs, making it the lowest target SRH have failed to achieve in the IPL.
Lowest score defended in the IPL at UAE
When they fire, they fire on all cylinders, else Punjab’s bowling outfit are toothless tigers. On a certain September (27th) date in Sharjah last year, Punjab conceded 227 runs in the second innings to hand the highest successful chase in IPL for Rajasthan. Almost a year later, at the same venue, they defended 125 runs against Hyderabad and registered yet another record. No other team has successfully defended as low a total of 125 in UAE.
Second-lowest total defended by PBKS in IPL
After a last-over heartbreak in the previous encounter against the Rajasthan, Punjab bowling outfit yet again found themselves in a pressure situation as they had to defend 126 runs. Under pressure, their most experienced bowler – Shami – and the youngster Bishnoi, came out with flying colours. However, Nathan Ellis, making his debut, laid the finishing touch. Though he conceded a six of the second ball, he kept his cool to guide the Kings to a five-run win. By virtue of their bowlers’ efforts, Punjab defended their second lowest total in IPL.
A hellacious all-round effort in vain
The main reason behind Hyderabad restricting Punjab to a paltry score of 125/7 was Holder’s early strikes of Rahul and Mayank in the same over. This certainly dented Punjab’s charge. He picked up three wickets and conceded only 19 runs and registered his best IPL figures. His duties didn’t end there, with the bat as well, Holder had the burden of taking Hyderabad over the ropes. Though he fell short by inches, he was awarded “Man of the match” for his all-round effort of three wickets and an unbeaten 47. Holder became only the second all-rounder to achieve all the three: player of the match, score 30+ runs and pick up three wickets in a losing cause. Yuvraj Singh is the other all-rounder to achieve this and that too twice.