The near-empty stands at the PCA Stadium, even for a match involving Indian outfit, Sunrisers Hyderabad, was not the best advertisement for the Champions League T20 qualifiers on Tuesday. It did not, however, dampen the spirit on the ground.
Kandurata Maroons, asked to bat first, rode on fine half-centuries from Kumar Sangakkara and Lahiru Thirimanne to reach 168 for three.
But, Sunrisers displayed its batting firepower to cruise home by eight wickets with nine balls to spare.
The experienced opening duo of Shikhar Dhawan (71, 53b, 4x11) and Parthiv Patel (52, 42b, 7x4) played some exquisite strokes while adding 121 in quick time before Thisara Perera’s unbeaten 11-ball 32 (4x4, 2x6) helped his team sprint home.
Earlier, Upul Tharanga gave Maroons a breezy start, punishing the off-colour Dale Steyn, who gave away 20 runs in his first two overs. Maroons should thank the Sri Lankan cricket authorities for forcing Sangakkara to play for their team as he smashed a 46-ball 61.
He and Thirimanne put on 89 for the third wicket.
Both played some delightful shots and it was heartening to see Thirimanne match Sangakkara shot for shot.
In the final four overs, Sangakkara and Dilhara Lokuhettige added 46 runs.
Ishant Sharma was the pick of the Sunrisers bowlers, claiming two for 20.