After a welcome return to form in his last game, Aaron Finch was in the runs again as he made 44 in a losing cause against Chennai Super Kings.
Finch and his Sunrisers Hyderabad teammates went into the game following their first win of the Pepsi IPL 2014, beating Delhi Daredevils by four runs on Friday thanks to a Man of the Match performance from the adopted Yorkshireman.
After skipper Shikhar Dhawan won the toss and chose to bat, Finch started confidently but was let down at the other end by some poor batting and a terrible decision from umpire Vineet Kulkarni.
Dhawan was the first to go in the second over, pulling a short ball straight to Mithun Mathas at square leg off the bowling of Ben Hilfenhaus. Two balls later ball David Warner was adjudged to be out LBW despite the ball clearly pitching outside leg stump, leaving the Sunrisers struggling on 15-2 after just 2.4 overs.
However Finch remained at the crease, and together with Lokesh Rahul (25 off 27) he began to rebuild the innings and had to stifle his own attacking instincts to play a more responsible innings for his franchise.
As the batting side attempted to push on Rahul attempted one shot too many and was caught out on the boundary off the bowling of Dwayne Smith.
Finch was once more forced to reign himself in and when Venugopal Rao (13 off 15) was caught trying to hit the ball over mid-off the Sunrisers had reached 98-4 with five overs to go.
Sunrisers v Royals, April 18, Royals won by 4 wickets
Kings XI v Sunrisers, April 22, Kings XI won by 72 runs
Sunrisers v Daredevils, April 25, Sunrisers won by 4 runs
Sunrisers v Super Kings, April 27, Super Kings won by 5 wickets
Indians v Sunrisers, April 30, 3.30pm BST
Royal Challengers v Sunrisers, May 4, 3.30pm BST
Royals v Sunrisers, May 8, 3.30pm BST
Daredevils v Sunrisers, May 10, 11.30am BST
Sunrisers v Indians, May 12, 3.30pm BST
Sunrisers v Kings XI, May 14, 11.30am BST
Sunrisers v Knight Riders, May 18, 3.30pm BST
Sunrisers v Royal Challengers, May 20, 11.30am BST
Super Kings v Sunrisers, May 22, 3.30pm BST
Knight Riders v Sunrisers, May 24, 3.30pm BST
Qualifiers, 27-30 May
Final, June 1, 3.30pm BST
As Darren Sammy joined Finch at the crease for an end of innings slog, the Australian began to struggle with the pace of the pitch and couldn’t force the ball over the ropes. As the pressure built up, Finch’s patience eventually snapped and was bowled as he aimed a great heave over midwicket.
Finch departed for a well-made 44 from 45 balls. And although the strike-rate pales into comparison with some of his other performances, it was a good innings in the match situation.
Some typically brutal hitting from Darren Sammy (23* off 15) and Karan Sharma (17* off 7) helped Hyderabad post a competitive 145/5 off their 20 overs.
In reply for the tournament favourites Chennai, the in-form pair of Smith and Brendon McCullum got off to a rapid start and reached 47-0 at the end of the powerplay.
McCullum was eventually bowled by Sharma for 40 from 33 balls before Smith, who was joined by Suresh Raina, reached his third 50 of the tournament.
After dismissing the West Indian for a blistering 66, the rest of the CSK order struggled and couldn’t get in. Raina, Faf du Plessis and Ravindra Jadeja all fell cheaply as SRH edged back into the game.
Heading into the last over with six needed, MS Dhoni and Mathas saw Chennai to a five wicket win with three balls to go.
Finch and his teammates will face fellow strugglers Mumbai Indians in Dubai on Wednesday as they try to get their tournament back on track. The Aussie is the fifth leading run scorer in the competition with 153 runs in his four innings.
Will Jackson – Finch Watch Correspondent
You can see Aaron Finch and the rest of the Yorkshire Vikings in action this summer in the NatWest T20 Blast, which gets underway on Friday May 16, when we host last season’s champions Northamptonshire Steelbacks.
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