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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

David Warner leads from the front, Wriddhiman Saha shows T20 credentials against Mumbai Indians

Sunrisers Hyderabad thump table-toppers Mumbai Indians by 10 wickets, storm into the playoffs on a three-match winning streak

Written by Shamik Chakrabarty |
Updated: November 4, 2020 2:20:43 pm
MI vs SRH, IPL 2021IPL 2021, MI vs SRH: For skipper Warner, there are some serious questions. (BCCI/IPL)

David Warner and Wriddhiman Saha made short work of a victory target of 150, as Sunrisers Hyderabad beat Mumbai Indians by 10 wickets with 17 balls remaining to reach the playoffs in style. SRH had to win their last three group league fixtures to qualify. They lived up to the challenge, knocking Kolkata Knight Riders out in the process.

MI weren’t full strength for this game. With the Qualifier 1 scheduled for Thursday, they rested Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult and Hardik Pandya. That, however, doesn’t dilute SRH’s performance, who played aggressive cricket to secure qualification. Warner’s captaincy was top-class. As a batsman, he led from the front to score 85 not out off 58 balls. Saha, on a roll, remained unbeaten on 58 off 45 deliveries. SRH will face Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Eliminator on Friday.

Saha shows T20 credentials

The common perception is that Saha is a misfit in the shortest format, his world-class wicket-keeping notwithstanding. He is never considered for limited-overs internationals and even his franchise belatedly brought him to the playing XI fold. Jonny Bairstow was SRH’s ‘keeper-batsman of choice. After coming back to the team, this was Saha’s second half-century in three matches. He had taken a superb catch to dismiss Saurabh Tiwary off Rashid Khan’s bowling.

Saha started off with a six and four off Nathan Coulter-Nile before laying into Dhawal Kulkarni. Warner, at the other end, took James Pattinson to the cleaners. The partnership grew from strength to strength and remained unseparated till the end.

SRH bowlers set up win

Earlier, Rohit Sharma, who was not picked for the tour of Australia last week because of an injury, returned to play for his franchise in their final group league fixture. His innings though was short-lived. On a tacky Sharjah pitch, he charged down the track to play a lofted drive over covers against Jason Holder. Rohit mistimed it and the ball fell just short of Abdul Samad at sweeper cover.

Three balls later, Rohit once against came down the track to Sandeep Sharma. He didn’t quite get to the pitch of the ball and checked his shot, and the catch went to Warner at mid-off. Stroke-play was difficult on a slow surface and the conditions suited the SRH bowlers. Hyderabad’s fielding at times bordered on the amateurish; still they managed to restrict MI to 149/8.

Samad misfielded to concede a four off Shahbaz Nadeem’s bowling. T Natarajan dropped a return catch from Suryakumar Yadav when the batsman was on 20. Nadeem couldn’t hold on to a difficult caught-and-bowled chance to allow Ishan Kishan a reprieve on seven. Khan dropped a dolly off his own bowling when Kishan was on 19. And Manish Pandey let one slip through his hands at the long-off boundary, with Kieron Pollard on 16. Pollard rode his luck to score 41 off 25 balls, but we would come to that later.

That SRH managed to pull things back was because they picked wickets at regular intervals. Nadeem’s excellent bowling, two wickets in an over, deserves a special mention. Sandeep Sharma had removed Rohit and a dangerous-looking Quinton de Kock upfront, but Yadav and Kishan were building a partnership. A score of 81/2 after 11 overs had MI in the ascendency. But Saha reacted sharply to stump Yadav off Nadeem and as Krunal Pandya tried to work another slow delivery from the left-arm spinner to leg side, he got a leading edge, offering a catch to Kane Williamson at short mid-wicket.

Pollard was lucky to survive a very confident leg-before shout against Khan. On-field umpire C Shamshuddin felt that Pollard had moved his front pad just outside the line of the off stump and the ball-tracking upheld it on umpire’s call. Fine margins. Pollard was on six then and went to finish as his team’s top-scorer.

The big man was severe on Natarajan. His three consecutive sixes against the bowler upped MI’s run rate. By the time Pollard’s luck ran out – he missed a full-toss from Holder to be castled – MI’s total had some respectability.

BRIEF SCORES: MI 149/8 (K Pollard 41, S Yadav 36; Sandeep Sharma 3/34, S Nadeem 2/19, J Holder 2/25) lost to SRH 151/0 (D Warner 85*, W Saha 58*) by 10 wickets

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