David Warner finished his IPL season with a brilliant 81 as Sunrisers Hyderabad enhanced their playoff qualifying chances by handing Kings XI Punjab a telling 45-run defeat in the Indian Premier League at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on Monday.
Sunrisers, boosted with the comeback of their skipper Kane Williamson, who recently returned from New Zealand following the death of his grandmother, ended their two-match winless streak. They now have 12 points from 12 matches and currently occupy the fourth spot behind Mumbai Indians. Sunrisers now need a win from the remaining two matches to seal their berth but they will have to do that without Warner by their side. The Australian is return home for his national duty ahead of the World Cup for the first time following the ban for his role in the Cape Town ball tampering scandal.
Kings XI Punjab occupy the sixth spot behind Kolkata Knight Riders, with the latter on same 10 points but have a better run rate. Rajasthan Royal also have 10 points but are placed seventh on run rate.
Chasing a mammoth 213 for win was always going to be an uphill task and Punjab clearly needed their Universal Boss Chris Gayle to fire. However, the big West Indian could last at the crease for just three deliveries as he skied one while on four and was caught by Manish Pandey following a slight juggle.
KL Rahul, however, stood firm with Mayank Agarwal, who scored a quick-fire 27 off 18 before falling prey to Rashid Khan. At the half way stage, Punjab were 81 for 2 with a well-set Rahul on 38 off 35. However, wickets of Nicholas Pooran — 21 off 10 followed by a double blow handed in the 13th over by Khan with crucial wickets of David Miller and skipper Ravichandran Ashwin ensured that Punjab had a lot of catching up to do. Rahul kept scoring at a brisk pace for a fine 79 off 56 deliveries but once he departed, the writing was on the walls for Punjab. They could only manage 167 for 8 in 20 overs.
Brief Scores: SRH 212 for 6 in 20 overs (David Warner 81, Wriddhiman Saha 28, Manish Pandey 36, Mohammed Nabi 20, Mohammed Sami 2 for 36, R Ashwin 2 for 36) beat Kings XI Punjab 167 for 8 in 20 overs (KL Rahul 79, Mayank Agarwal 27, Nicholas Pooran 21, Rashid Khan 3 for 21) SRH win by 45 runs.