James Faulkner returned to the attack for the 17th over of the Sunrisers Hyderabad innings. His figures at that point read 2-1-3-2. His first over,the second of the Hyderabad innings,had been a double-wicket-maiden,in which he had sent back both openers,bowling Parthiv Patel off his inside edge and getting Shikhar Dhawan caught at point.
Another wicket in their next over,Cameron White hooking Shane Watson straight to fine leg,had left Hyderabad reeling at five for three. Nothing could really deflect from the horrors of Thursday,when three of their players had been arrested for their alleged role in a spot-fixing racket,but this start might have cheered up Rajasthan Royals a little.
But now,Hyderabads score read 104 for four. Biplab Samantray,batting intelligently,using the late dab to third man and the scoop-drive over cover to good effect on a slow Uppal wicket,had moved to 47 from 40 balls. Samantray had put on 44 for the fourth wicket with Hanuma Vihari. His fifth-wicket stand with Darren Sammy was now worth 55,and it had taken only 33 balls,the last of which had seen the West Indian all-rounder hoick Watson over midwicket for six. The momentum was clearly with the home side.
On came Faulkner once more. Samantray took a single off his first ball,bringing Sammy on strike. Sammy tried to go over the top again,but didnt quite connect,and holed out to long off. The Purple Cap was now Faulkners.
Seven came off that over,and 11 off the next one,with Samantray slapping a full toss from Kevon Cooper to the off side fence. Faulkner came back for his final over. Third ball,Samantray didnt quite spot the slower ball,and hit it straight to long on. Last ball of the over,the left-arm pacer speared it full and straight,and rattled Dale Steyns stumps. Faulkner had taken five.
Coopers final over only cost seven runs,and also brought two run outs. Rajasthan needed 137 from their 20 overs. It wasnt a big target,but Samantrays innings seemed to have wrested quite a bit of the initiative Hyderabads way. In the end,it proved decisive,with Rajasthan falling 23 short on a slow wicket of decidedly uncertain bounce.
Rajasthans task looked formidable right from the first over of their innings. Second ball,a shortish delivery from Steyn whizzed through at shin height. Ajinkya Rahane looked bemused. This would happen again in Steyns next over,and the South African pacer followed it up with a bouncer that Rahane somehow fended away for a single.
Karan Sharma came on to bowl the fifth over of Rajasthans innings. Third ball,Rahane,who was on four off 12 balls,slog-swept the leg spinner for six. Two balls later,Rahul Dravid cut him away for four. Dravid had already found the fence a couple of times off Ishant Sharma,courtesy a top-edged hook for six and a flick for four. Rajasthan,however,werent getting away from Hyderabads sights. Ishants second and third overs cost just one and three,before Sammy came on and conceded four off a first over full of hard-to-spot changes of pace. After seven,Rajasthan were 37 for no loss. They needed exactly 100. Something had to give.
Third ball of the next over,bowled by Amit Mishra,Dravid ran for a single off a misfield by the bowler. White ran in from point and threw hard and flat at the bowlers end. His direct hit had Dravid well out of his crease.
Next over,Rahane came down the track to Karan,and mishit one straight into deep covers hands. Mishra hurried through another over after that,and Rajasthan had reached the 10-over mark with barely any breathing room. Their score read 44 for two,and they now needed 93 from 60 balls. The two leg spinners,Mishra and Karan,had combined figures of 4-0-20-1.
Those figures grew even more impressive in Mishras next over,when Sanju Samson gave long off catching practice. Ishant got through his last over,to finish his spell with figures of none for 22. The pressure had reached breaking point. Watson slogged Thisara Perera to long on,and two balls later,Stuart Binny was bowled by one that sneaked through low. Rajasthan now needed 72 from 36; two runs every ball. They were never going to get there. In the end,they reached 113 with a flurry of hits from Cooper in the last two overs,but the game was all but over by then.