Aaron Finch missed out on a big score for the second successive game but will be delighted that his side the Sunrisers Hyderabad kept themselves in the top-four race as they crushed Rajasthan Royals by 32 runs on the back of an inspiring bowling performance by Indian Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Hyderabad looked down and out after posting a modest 134 for nine but they came out all guns blazing, forcing their rivals into submission with their bowling, led by young India paceman Bhuvneshwar Kumar (4/14). Finch only managed 9 with one boundary before being caught by Ajinkya Rahane from the bowling of Rajat Bhatia.
Kumar provided the first breakthrough in the third ball of the RR innings and then took three wickets in the 18th over to deny the rivals any sort of comeback.
His senior pace colleague Dale Steyn (2/33) took two wickets while Karn Sharma, Moises Henriques and Irfan Pathan took a wicket apiece in a collective bowling effort to bowl out Rajasthan for 102 with one ball to spare.
The result meant that Rajasthan skipper Shane Watson`s superb hat-trick went in vain and Hyderabad moved to fifth from seventh in the points table.
It was a disappointing batting display by Hyderabad as more than the Rajasthan bowling, it was poor shot selection of the Hyderabad batsmen that let them down.
None of the SRH players, except skipper Shikhar Dhawan (33), applied himself as Watson (3/13) and Rajat Bhatia (3/23) shared six wickets between them.
It was a split hat-trick for Watson as he dismissed Dhawan in the last ball of his first over and then sent back Moises Henriques (9) and Karn Sharma (0) when he returned for his second over later in the innings.
However, Hyderabad made a match out of it with their spirited bowling effort. Both pacers and spinners bowled their hearts out in troubling the Rajasthan batsmen.
Pacers Bhuvneshwar and Steyn were disciplined with their line and length while Karn and Amit Mishra used the spin-friendly conditions to the fullest
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, Sunrisers won by 15 runs
Royal Challengers v Sunrisers, May 4, Royal Challengers win by 4 wickets
Royals v Sunrisers, May 8, 3.30pm BST, Sunrisers win by 32 runs
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
Kumar gave a perfect start by having Ajinkya Rahane (0) out in the third ball and Steyn had Karun Nair (12) caught behind.
Karn bamboozled in-form Sanju Samson (16) with a peach of a delivery and then Henriques got the prized wicket of Watson by having the rival skipper caught behind.
Hyderabad were right back in the match and were in fact calling the shots. David Warner made it 78 for five by RR by sending back Stuart Binny on a direct hit.
Steven Smith (22) and seasoned Rajat Bhatia had a humongous task to get the team out of rut as a demoralised Rajasthan needed 54 runs off the last five overs.
Steyn dented RR hopes by dismissing Smith and Bhuvneshwar saw the back of James Faulkner and Rajat Bhatia (4) in successive balls to make the writing clear on the wall.
Earlier, Dhawan, who had been struggling thus far, seemed to have found his touch back as he hit some sweetly-timed boundaries. His cuts and drives, predominantly on the off-side, reached the boundary ropes in jiffy.
However, he could not capitalise on the stupendous start, getting back to dug out in somewhat strange fashion. One from Watson kept slightly low and faint edge carried the ball onto stumps. His 20-ball knock had seven boundaries.
In came Lokesh Rahul (18) and he too began in tremendous fashion, dispatching Dhawal Kulkarni for two boundaries but Finch (9) joined his captain in the dug out, thanks to a stunning catch by Ajinkya Rahane off Bhatia.
The Australian neither got the power nor the elevation in his shot and Rahane latched on to the chance diving forward.
Rahul squandered the good start by playing a reckless shot, giving Bhatia his second wicket. It was left to new-man in David Warner (6) and Naman Ojha (17) to provide impetus to the innings but the former did not help the cause of his side by departing early.
Leg-spinner Pravin Tambe, star of Rajatshan`s previous match with a hat-trick, foxed the charging Australian left-hander with a turning ball and Sanju Samson had an easy stumping to do.
Ojha too left his side in tatters as he was bowled by Bhatia while attempting to work the ball on the on-side. Watson then piled on the SRH misery by completing his hat-trick.
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