Rising Pune Supergiants brought their stuttering IPL campaign back on track with a convincing 34-run win over hosts Sunrisers Hyderabad via Duckowrth Lewis method in a rain-affected match.
Relishing favourable conditions, Supergiants restricted Sunrisers to a modest 118 for eight after a rain-delayed start and won the contest via Duckworth Lewis method at Rajiv Gandhi International stadium.
Supergiants were comfortably placed 94 for three in their chase when skied opened up, forcing suspension of play. The play never resumed and Supergiants were declared the winners.
It was first win for Supergiants after four straight defeats and credit for the much-needed win goes to their pace duo of Ashok Dinda (3/23) and Mitchell Marsh (2/14), who revelled under helpful conditions.
Stroke-making was a bit difficult as the match started late by one hour. The batsmen needed to apply themselves to get runs but Hyderabad players, save opener Shikhar Dhawan, did not respond to the conditions well.
The sluggish conditions made the RPS decision to bowl first more suitable. Hyderabad were never in contention after losing half the team at a score of 32.
The hosts owed their total to Dhawan, who struck a fighting unbeaten 56 that had two fours and a six. Dhawan’s knock was second-lowest score for an opener, who carried his bat through the innings, in IPL history.
Herschell Gibbs had made 59 not out for Deccan Chargers in 2009.
Except for losing Ajinkya Rahane in the very first over, Supergiants were in complete control of the contest. Steve Smith and Faf Du Plessis went about their business calmly.
Comeback man Ashish Nehra and Mustafizur Rehman bowled well but Smith and Du Plessis were ready to buy some time. They shared a 80-run stand that set up the easy chase.
Smith’s unbeaten 46-run knock came off 30 balls and had seven boundaries in it while Du Plesiss hit 30 off 21 balls with three fours and two sixes.
The stand was broken by Moises Henriques when he had the South African caught behind. RPS skipper MS Dhoni promoted himself up the order and straight away smashed a four.
However he did not last long, hitting one straight to Aditya Tare off Nehra. Immediately after Dhoni dismissal, skied opened up again and play never resumed.
Despite defeat, Hyderabad remained at number four in the table with six points while Supergiants rose a rung to six with four points. Hyderabad suffered their first defeat after three straight wins.
Earlier, Dinda extracted some good bounce from the track and scalped David Warner (0) and Aditya Tare (8) early in the innings. Warner slashed widish delivery straight to Ajinkya Rahane while Tare’s miscued pull was taken by Thisara Perera.
Marsh too was impressive from the other end, getting rid of dangerous Eoin Morgan (0).
Dhawan was holding the fort tightly but kept losing partners from the other end. Marsh completed his quota of overs with another wicket, by dismissing Moises Henriques.
In between, Ravichandran Ashwin sent back Deepak Hooda with his first ball of the spell.
The stage was now set for Supergiants to push for a win which it needed badly. The hosts were gasping at 32 for five with Dhawan and Naman Ojha having a great task at hand to repair the innings.
The two played sensibly, focusing more on ones and twos to keep the scoreboard ticking. They waited for the odd bad ball for big shots.
One such shot came in the 15th over when Ojha lofted Rajat Bhatia for a maximum in the cow corner. Ojha and Dhawan added 47 runs, much needed to lend some respectability to the total, for the sixth wicket.
Dhoni brought back Dinda and he responded by castling Ojha, who made 18 off 21 balls.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar played a very useful cameo of 21 runs from just eight balls and that was crucial in taking the hosts past three-figure mark.