Looking back at an IPL game where a batsman won the Man of the Match award despite playing more balls than scoring runs
- The 7th game of the IPL in 2013 saw Hanuma Vihari being adjudged the Man of the Match for scoring 44 off 46 balls and picking up a wicket
In T20 cricket, a batsman's strike rate is considered to be paramount. A strike rate of 150 or above is considered ideal, while a strike rate of below 100 is widely assumed to be poor - no matter what the circumstances.
But there have been a few instances when a sub-100 strike rate has actually proven to be invaluable. Here's a look back at one such instance.
Hanuma Vihari made his IPL debut for the Sunrisers Hyderabad on the 7th of April 2013 in a home game against the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
The Royal Challengers, led by Virat Kohli, had won the toss and elected to bat first. The Bangalore batting line-up comprised of destructive players like Chris Gayle, Tillakaratne Dilshan and the skipper Kohli himself.
After being put into the field, Vihari had a dream start to his debut as he took the wicket of Chris Gayle with his very first ball. Gayle was out caught behind for a golden duck.
Vihari didn't bowl any further as the other bowlers tightened the screws on the Bangalore batting line up. The contributions from Kohli and Moises Henriques took Bangalore to a total of 130 for 8 at the end of their allotted 20 overs.
Ishant Sharma was the pick of the bowlers for the Sunrisers as he picked up 3 wickets whereas the other bowlers chipped in with a wicket each.
The Sunrisers got off to a shaky start as they lost their opener Parthiv Patel off the first ball of the second over. The 19-year-old debutant Vihari was then sent in to bat by the skipper Kumar Sangakkara.
Henriques sent back his countryman, the dangerous Cameron White, and the score read 20 for 2. Vihari carried on battling for his team with wickets falling at the other end.
The Sunrisers were given a major blow when they lost their skipper Sangakkara for 16 runs. Thisara Perera and Amit Mishra fell cheaply for 7 and 0 respectively, and after the fall of Mishra's wicket, Hyderabad needed 30 runs off 23 balls.
The partnership between Vihari and Ashish Reddy of 23 runs in 18 balls took Sunrisers close to the total.
Reddy got out off the first ball of the final over, leaving the Sunrisers needing 7 runs to win off 5 balls. Dale Steyn then walked out to bat and took 2 runs off the very first ball followed by a dot off the next ball. He put Vihari on strike with Hyderabad needing 4 to win off 2 balls.
Vihari took 2 off the first ball and ran a bye off the last to end the game in a tie. The match went down to the Super Over where the Sunrisers prevailed by 5 runs.
At the end of the game, Vihari has adjudged the Man of the Match for picking up the wicket of Chris Gayle and scoring an unbeaten 44 off 46 balls.
This article is inspired by the idea originally published here.