Sunrisers Hyderabad made heavy weather of a modest target to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory against Kings XI Punjab on Saturday.
In the 43rd match of the Dream11 Indian Premier League at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, SRH middle and lower-order batsmen made harakiri to ‘gift’ a 12-run win to KXIP in a low-scoring thriller.
The KL Rahul-led side continued their great comeback story by recording their fourth win on the trot to keep their chances alive in the competition.
From mere two points from seven games a couple of weeks ago, KXIP now moved up to the fifth spot with ten points to their credit after eleven outings.
On the other hand, SRH are now staring at the exit with just eight points from eleven ties. The David Warner and Company will need to win the rest of the three ties by big margins to stay in hunt.
For this remarkable revival, credit must go to KXIP captain Rahul and coach Anil Kumble. Even after lying at the bottom for a few weeks, they did not give up and believed in themselves.
On Saturday too, defending a small total of 126 for 7, KXIP bowlers bowled their heart out to force the issue in their favour. Warner (35: 20 balls, 3×4, 2×6) provided a flying start to SRH in the company of Jonny Bairstow (19: 20 balls, 4×4). The opening pair of Warner and Bairstow started strong, adding 56 runs in the first six overs.
The 2016 champions were comfortably placed at 100 for 3 in 16 overs with just 27 needed from the last four overs. However, they just lost the track after the dismissal of Manish Pandey (20) and choked to death.
The former champions lost their last six wickets for the addition of only 14 runs. The last six SRH batsmen failed to reach even double-digit scores.
Young medium-pacer Arshdeep Singh emerged as the star performer with a dream spell of 3 for 23. Chris Jordan was even more effective as the 32-year-old pacer conceded just 17 runs from his four-over spell and captured three important wickets. For his fantastic effort, the West Indies star was named man-of-the-match. Even though Ravi Bishnoi claimed a solitary wicket, the young leg-spinner conceded just 13 runs from his four overs to check the SRH batsmen.
Mohammed Shami and Murugan Ashwin also took a wicket apiece.
Earlier, Rahul got the KXIP innings off to a fluent start, and Chris Gayle joined him soon to pilot the innings along. However, both Rahul and Gayle fell midway in the innings which halted the KXIP progress. Nicholas Pooran (32 not out) anchored the second half of the innings, but only two boundaries were hit in the death overs.
As usual Rashid Khan (2 for 14) orchestrated a strangle. Sandeep Sharma (2 for 29) became just the sixth Indian pacer to take 100 IPL wickets.
On Sunday, Royal Challengers Bangalore will take on Chennai Super Kings at Dubai, while Mumbai Indians will lock horns with Rajasthan Royals at Abu Dhabi.
Kings XI Punjab 126 for 7 in 20 overs (Nicholas Pooran 32, KL Rahul 27, Chris Gayle 20, Mandeep Singh 17, Glenn Maxwell 12; Rashid Khan 2-14, Jason Holder 2-27, Sandeep Sharma 2-29) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 114 all out in 19.5 overs (David Warner 35, Vijay Shankar 26, Jonny Bairstow 19, Manish Pandey 15; Chris Jordan 3-17, Arshdeep Singh 2-23, Ravi Bishnoi 1-13, Murugan Ashwin 1-27, Mohammed Shami 1-34) by 12 runs.
Man-of-the-match: Chris Jordan (KXIP).