Rising to the occasion Jason Holder, Manish Pandey and Vijay Shankar performed brilliantly to guide Sunrisers Hyderabad to a thumping eight-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals in the Dream11 Indian Premier League at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Thursday.
In a must-win match for both the teams, SRH raised their level of play by few notches to register their fourth win in the competition and first while chasing.
The comfortable win also helped them to stay in the contention with eight points from ten games as they jumped to the fifth spot. In the first leg, RR had edged out SRH in a thriller thanks to the heroics from Rahul Tewatia and Riyan Parag.
On the other hand, RR have a task cut out for them. With eight points from eleven games, they are lying on the seventh spot. They will be required to win all the remaining three ties with big margins to claim the spot in the play-offs.
Chasing a modest target of 155, SRH cruised to win with eleven balls and eight wickets to spare. Despite losing both the openers – David Warner (4) and Jonny Bairstow (10) — quite early, SRH did not press the panic button this time and sailed smoothly towards the destination. Jofra Archer gave RR a slight hope with twin blows but could not capitalise on it.
Manish Pandey emerged as the hero of the day for SRH as he slammed a delightful 83 not out. Pandey along with Vijay Shankar milked the RR bowling without much difficulty as they piled up an unbeaten stand of 140 runs off 93 balls.
Proving a point or two to their critics, both Pandey and Shankar made a bold statement with their professional batting approach. With Indian team’s selection round the corner for the forthcoming Australian tour, such innings will definitely bolster their chances of breaking into the national squad.
No. 3 batsman Pandey’s unbeaten 83 came in 47 balls and was studded with four boundaries and eight sixes. Shankar hit 52 not out off 51 balls and laced with six fours including the winning boundary. Three successfive boundaries off Archer’s fourth over was the highlight of his fifty.
Earlier, RR squandered away a strong start and were restricted to a modest total of 154 for 6.
In the 40th match of the season, Rajasthan Royals, who were asked to bat first by SRH skipper David Warner, got off to a flying start as Ben Stokes (30: 32 balls, 2×4) and Robin Uthappa (19: 13 balls, 2×4, 1×6) started playing aggressively from the word go.
Just when Uthappa was going great guns, he got run out by a direct throw from Jason Holder off his own delivery. Samson then joined Stokes and maintained the flow of runs. At one stage, RR were well-placed at 86 for 1 in the 12th over. They put on a 56-run partnership for the second wicket in 49 balls.
However, the fall of Samson’s wicket triggered the collapse. Samson (36: 26 balls, 3×4, 1×6) became the first of the three wickets of Holder.
Playing his debut match for the SRH, Holder made an immediate impact and put up a brilliant show with the ball to check the rivals.
Holder, who came in for the injured Kane Williamson, impressed in his first match. The West Indies paceman led the SRH bowling attack with a clinical three-wicket haul. Vijay Shankar and Rashid Khan took a wicket piece as the RR batsmen found it tough to cross the boundary ropes.
With Jos Buttler coming in quite late, the England player along with skipper Smith weren’t able to do much damage as the SRH bowlers kept RR in check. The first innings saw only four sixes. Jofra Archer (16 not out off 7 balls) added important runs in the end and helped his side cross the 150 mark.
On Friday, defending champions Mumbai Indians (12 points) will take on last year’s runners-up Chennai Super Kings (6 points) at Sharjah.
Rajasthan Royals 154 for 6 in 20 overs (Sanju Samson 36, Ben Stokes 30, Riyan Parag 20, Steve Smith 19, Robin Uthappa 19, Jofra Archer 16 not out; Jason Holder 3-33, Vijay Shankar 1-15, Rashid Khan 1-20) lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad 156 for 2 in 18.1 overs (Manish Pandey 83 not out, Vijay Shankar 52 not out, Jonny Bairstow 10; Jofra Archer 2-21) by eight wickets.
Man-of-the-match: Manish Pandey (SRH).