Sunrisers Hyderabad go down fighting in a low-scoring Eliminator
Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), masters at choking the opposition, met its match in Rajasthan Royals at the Ferozeshah Kotla on Wednesday night.
Exorcising the ghosts of the spot fixing scandal that devastated its camp, Royals once again rode their self-belief to stay in the tournament, winning its Indian Premier League Eliminator against Sunrisers Hyderabad by four wickets, thanks to a sterling innings from Brad Hodge.
An inspiring show by Darren Sammy, with his infectious energy sweeping the opposition off its feet, was the dominating factor in this low-scoring contest on a pitch that lacked the character much needed in this format.
All credit to Sammy for putting up a splendid fight. He made runs, took a sensational catch on the boundary and then bowled with imagination to raise SRH’s hopes.
A pity he erred in the final over when Royals needed ten to win. Two sixes by Hodge ended the contest. The target of 133 was achievable even if the pitch offered resistance.
An imperious Rahul Dravid belting Dale Steyn in the innings’ first over set the tempo for Royals. The chase stuttered but recovery came through Shane Watson, who adapted well to the low and slow surface.
There was much to contend with as SRH rotated the attack and struck regularly to keep the batsmen under pressure.
Batting under mounting pressure, Hodge, with Sanju Vishwanadh and James Faulkner for company, hit sixes when they mattered just when SRH appeared to get on top. Hodge made the difference; he hardly showed signs of strain as he set up a famous win for a team that had reasons to smile after the recent troubles.