Sunrisers Hyderabad once again defended a low score in IPL 2018    AFP
Sunrisers Hyderabad once again defended a low score in IPL 2018 AFP

Match 25 of the ongoing VIVO IPL 2018 turned out to be yet another rollercoaster ride. After being asked to bat first, Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) mustered a mediocre 132 for 6 courtesy Ankit Rajpoot, whose 5 for 14 were the best figures in Kings XI Punjab history and the second-best spell ever by an Indian. In reply, KL Rahul and Chris Gayle predictably cut loose, putting on 55 for the first wicket. From there, KXIP stuttered to 101 for 9 before being bowled out for 119 thanks to Rashid Khan (3 for 19), Shakib Al Hasan (2 for 18) and the SRH pacers.

Chasing 133, Rahul and Gayle delivered yet again. They took on Mohammed Nabi, and did not let Sandeep Sharma, Siddarth Kaul or Basil Thampi get on top. The script changed with Rashid’s arrival. Rahul’s weakness against googlies exposed him once again.

Gayle lost concentration after Rahul’s fall. He miscued a big shot off a short ball from Thampi, who took the skier himself. KXIP openers have been so good that they haven’t put the other batsmen under the pump; and SRH took full advantage.

There was complete demolition, and KXIP ended on the wrong side of a low-scoring encounter. Mayank Agarwal got to another start in the competition but failed to capitalise. He took on Shakib but could only hand a catch to Manish Pandey at long on. Karun Nair fell prey to Rashid’s wrong ‘un.

Aaron Finch, at No. 5, came out all guns blazing to counterattack and get some runs in the season. He smashed a huge straight six off Shakib but went a little overboard. In a bid to take Shakib on, he was caught at long-on off the next ball, for 8 in 4 balls.

The rest collapsed in a heap as Rashid looked more and more dangerous with every passing over. This was KXIP’s second defeat in their seventh encounter. SRH have the exact same number of wins and defeats, though with a superior net run rate.

Earlier, Rajpoot took out Kane Williamson, Shikhar Dhawan and Wriddhiman Saha cheaply before Pandey and Shakib’s fifty-run stand pushed the scoreboard; a cameo from Yusuf Pathan took SRH to 132 for 6.

KXIP would have fancied their chances during the innings break. However, they have only their batsmen to blame for missing out on consecutive victories over Williamson’s side.

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) beat Kings XI Punjab 119 in 19.2 overs (KL Rahul 32, Chris Gayle 23, Karun nair 13; Rashid Khan 3 for 19, Sandeep Sharma 2 for 17, Basil Thampi 2 for 14, Shakib Al Hasan 2 for 18) by 13 runs.

Player of the Match: Ankit Rajpoot.