The Punjab Kings (PBKS) continued their slide in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021, as they gifted the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) their first win of the season. Both teams made changes to address their middle-order weaknesses, but the SRH prevailed in a low-scoring encounter in Chennai.
Opting to bat first given the trend favouring teams batting first at the venue, PBKS were pegged back early with the dismissal of skipper KL Rahul. The dismissal cascaded. Though the team didn't collapse at any stage, the SRH bowlers and the nature of the pitch made life difficult. Although the total was just 120, SRH took their time to chase it down, winning the game in the penultimate over.
Here are three reasons why PBKS lost to SRH in their IPL encounter on April 21.
#3 SRH's all-round bowling brilliance
On slow surfaces like the one in Chennai, the match can turn based on one bowler having a bad day, or one batsmen dominating the rest. To SRH's credit, all their bowlers put up a strong performance with all of them contributing in their own way.
Though Rashid Khan was always expected to pose a threat, the batsmen were content to play him out. Instead, young left-arm spin-bowling all-rounder Abhishek Sharma picked up two wickets and left-arm quick Khaleel Ahmed struck thrice to ensure SRH had no chances of a big total. With Sandeep Sharma and T Natarajan warming the bench, SRH have a bowling line-up to envy.
#2 PBKS' overseas players let the team down
PBKS were dissatisfied with the efforts of Australian pace-bowling duo Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith, and chose to bring a change in the bowling as well as some depth to their batting. In came spin-bowling all-rounder Fabian Allen and another Aussie in Moises Henriques.
The move didn't quite work with the bat, as both all-rounders struggled and scored below a run a ball. While Allen was economical with the ball, even picking up the only wicket to fall, Henriques was barely used. PBKS might have erred by playing both all-rounders together, and we may see more changes in this regard as PBKS try to shake themselves out of their slump.
#1 Jonny Bairstow's innings takes SRH home
SRH had just 121 to chase down, and it was made to look even smaller thanks to the superb start that their openers managed. After the powerplay, they had already reached 50 for no loss, and with just 71 to get at about 5 runs an over, SRH needed a cool head to bat through the chase.
Although David Warner was dismissed, Jonny Bairstow ensured he stayed through the chase for SRH. His innings of three fours and three sixes meant that despite a controlling spell of bowling from the PBKS bowlers, SRH produced a commanding, nine-wicket win against KL Rahul's men.