Kings XI Punjab suffered their fifth defeat in the Indian Premier League but not before troubling Sunrisers Hyderabad with a valiant Nicholas Pooran batting effort in a big 69-run loss on Thursday.
Batting first at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, firepower from English opener Jonny Bairstow and Aussie David Warner steered Hyderabad to 201-6. Hyderabad were thankful to Afghan spinner Rashid Khan who got rid of a menacing Pooran before Punjab were skittled out for just 132 in 16.5 overs.
The handsome victory put Hyderabad at the third spot in the points table on net run rate after they were tied on six points with Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore. Mumbai Indians currently lead the table, also on run rate, as they are tied on eight points with Delhi Capitals.
Prior to Thursday’s second innings, Punjab boasted a strong top order but they pegged back losing Mayank Agarwal (nine) to a run out in second over. Simran Singh (11) and Purple Cap holder KL Rahul (11) fell cheaply before Pooran took the centre stage.
Together with Glenn Maxwell, Pooran shared 47 runs for the fourth wicket and completed tournament’s fastest half century in just 16 balls when he smacked Abdul Samad for 28 runs in a single over. Maxwell (seven) fell to another run out, this time direct hit from an athletic Priyam Garg, as the Australian’s poor run of form in the tournament continued.
Rashid, who have been the most unplayable bowler in the tournament so far, removed Mandeep Singh (six) with a wrong’un as Punjab kept losing wickets from the other end. Pooran decided to not to attack Rashid in his last and innings’ 15th over but the left hander holed out an easy catch to T Natarajan.
That virtually ended the game for Punjab. Pooran struck 77 runs from 37 deliveries, hitting seven humongous sixes and five boundaries. Rashid finished with the figures of 3-12 from four overs, while Khaleel Ahmed and Natarajan also took two wickets apiece.
Earlier, Bairstow and Warner once again laid the foundation for a big Hyderabad total with a century stand before Ravi Bishnoi stemmed the run flow dismissing both batsmen in a single over.
Warner, who uncharactersitcally chose to remain calm enjoying Bairstow’s exhibition of power hitting from the other end, was first to go for a 40-ball 52 hitting five fours and a six.
Bairstow did the bulk of scoring in their mammoth 160-run partnership hitting six sixes and seven boundaries. With just 15 overs gone, Hyderabad were seemingly heading towards another big total before Bishnoi halted the proceedings. He forced Warner for a loft hit only to see the ball sky to Glenn Maxwell and trapped Bairstow leg before winning the dismissal after a review.
As Bishnoi conceded just two runs in the 16th over, Punjab did well to escape with just 41 runs in the last five overs. New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson scored a 10-ball 20 to push Hyderabad above 200.