Ankit Rajpoot finished with 5 for 14    AFP
Ankit Rajpoot finished with 5 for 14 AFP

Kings XI Punjab‘s (KXIP) Ankit Rajpoot’s extra bounce, pace and smart change of length reduced Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) to a horrid start in Match 25 of VIVO IPL 2018. At 27 for 3, leaving the local fans stunned at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Uppal. Shikhar Dhawan and Kane Williamson were already back in the hut. Manish Pandey and Shakib Al Hasan stitched a 50-run stand before Yusuf Pathan’s mini blitz have managed to take SRH to 132 for 6.

Rajpoot’s extra bounce deceived Williamson. This was his first duck in IPL history. At the other end, Dhawan slashed one to get his first boundary, but never looked in his elements. He does not seem to have recovered fully from the elbow injury; leading to limited movement. Dhawan’s scalp belonged to Rajpoot for banging in short and curving the ball away.

Wriddhiman Saha, at No. 3, departed for 6, giving Rajpoot his third wicket. Amidst the fall of wickets and run containment, KXIP remained below par with their catching. They dropped at least three catches (other than half chances) to increase their bowlers’ workload.

Manoj Tiway’s Kedar Jadhav-inspired bowling action, where he bent down on one knee and released it from a very low height, caught everyone’s attention. It did not work, though: his only over went for 10.

Pandey and Shakib added 52 for the fourth wicket. They played according to the field, fancied their chances from time to time and were complimented by KXIP fielders. Shakib (28) fell going for a big shot off Mujeeb Ur Rahman.

The final flourish, 28 off the last 3 overs, pushed SRH’s score to 132 for 6. Pandey top-scored with a gritty 54 in 51 balls. Rajpoot added two more wickets in the last over, removing Pandey and Mohammed Nabi, to take a five-for. His 5 for 14, including 17 dot balls, is the sixth-best in IPL history.

With the in-form Chris Gayle and KL Rahul in the dugout, KXIP should achieve the total. However, SRH had defended a mere 119 versus Mumbai Indians (MI) at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai; and Uppal had been a fortress of sort for them.

Brief scores

Sunrisers Hyderabad 132 for 6 in 20 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 11, Manish Pandey 54, Shakib Al Hasan 28; Ankit Rajpoot 5 for 14, Mujeeb Ur Rahman 1 for 17) vs Kings XI Punjab