IPL 2018, SRH vs KXIP: Rashid Khan's third over is SK Turning Point of the match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab
The Sunrisers Hyderabad's penchant for defending low totals was on display once again at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Thursday (April 26) and it came against the in-form Kings XI Punjab.
The hosts lost the toss and were put in to bat first by Ravichandran Ashwin. Their in-form batsman and skipper, Kane Williamson was dismissed for a duck and after the wicket, his team never looked like getting a high total throughout the innings.
However, courtesy a painful half-century from Manish Pandey and a plethora of dropped catches from the Punjab franchise, SRH trudged to 132 for six after 20 overs. It was fighting total, more so after considering their brilliant bowling line-up.
The dreaded KXIP opening combination of KL Rahul and Chris Gayle started off well, putting up 55 for the first wicket.
However, they were both sent back to the hut in a span of just four deliveries, which ended up putting pressure on the incoming batsmen. Rashid Khan dismissed Rahul off an absolute ripper of a delivery in the eighth over of the chase.
The leg-spinner was also the architect of the SK turning point of the day, when he bowled a terrific over in the second half of the chase.
Williamson tossed the ball to him before the 14th over of the innings, and the Afghanistan leg-spinner terrorized the Men in Red with his variable and intelligent bowling.
0 1 1 W 0 0: This is how the over looked like. It changed the complexion of the entire game, and put the hosts in the driving seat, for the first time on the day.
The wicket was that of Karun Nair, who has been in good touch recently. However, he was trapped in a plumb LBW position by the 19-year-old.
The next two deliveries of the over were not mere dot balls but proved to be very tight calls as well.
There were loud appeals from the men around the bat on both the occasions, but the batsmen managed to get off the hook in the end, just barely though.
Though those appeals did not turn into KXIP wickets, they still created a bubble of pressure on the visitors.
They could feel the momentum shifting against their side, and they capitulated in the remainder of the game, almost donating their wickets to the home team along the way.
Punjab could manage just 119 runs before all their batsmen were sent back to the pavilion, thanks to a combination of brilliant bowling from SRH, innovative captaincy from Williamson, and reckless batting by them.
The Men in Orange grabbed a thrilling 13-run victory at the end of it all.
Hyderabad, along with Chennai, look like the side to beat in this competition so far. For now, they are looking like the favourites to lift that coveted trophy around the same time next month.
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