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Hyderabad beat Punjab by 2 runs in IPL thriller

For Hyderabad, Nitish Kumar Reddy emerged as the standout performer, scoring 64 off 37 balls with four boundaries and five sixes. (Photo credit: Getty Images)

By: Vivek Mishra

In a nail-biting IPL encounter on Tuesday, Sunrisers Hyderabad managed to fend off a late onslaught by Punjab Kings’ batsmen Shashank Singh and Ashutosh Sharma, clinching victory by a narrow margin of two runs.

Chasing down 183 runs for victory, Punjab Kings fell just short, scoring 180 for 6, with Shashank Singh leading the charge with an unbeaten 46 off 25 balls. Ashutosh Sharma also played a vital role, remaining not out on 33 off 15 balls.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar shined for Hyderabad with the ball, claiming two crucial wickets for 32 runs. Earlier, Arshdeep Singh’s impressive spell of 4/29 restricted Sunrisers Hyderabad to 182 for 9. Harshal Patel and Sam Curran also made notable contributions, each grabbing two wickets for Punjab Kings.

For Hyderabad, who were tasked with setting a target, Nitish Kumar Reddy emerged as the standout performer, crafting a blistering 64 off 37 balls with four boundaries and five sixes. Despite Reddy’s heroic efforts, support from his teammates was limited, with Abdul Samad providing the next highest score of 25.

Reddy, a promising 20-year-old batting allrounder, played a pivotal role in rescuing Hyderabad from early setbacks, guiding them to a competitive total of 182-9 after being put into bat at Punjab’s new home ground in Mullanpur.

Punjab seemed to be out of contention at 114-6, but a resilient partnership between Shashank Singh and Ashutosh Sharma, worth 66 runs off just 27 balls, gave Hyderabad a tense finish. However, Punjab ultimately fell short as they finished on 180-6.

Hyderabad’s captain, Pat Cummins, breathed a sigh of relief as left-arm quick Jaydev Unadkat managed to defend 29 runs in the last over, despite three dropped catches in the deep.

Cummins commended Reddy for his outstanding performance, acknowledging his vital contributions with both bat and ball. “He was awesome, fantastic debut last week,” said the Australian captain. “Straight to the top of the order, fantastic in the field, bowled three overs too. To get us to 180 off his bat, it was amazing.”

Bhuvneshwar’s bowling display played a significant role in securing Hyderabad’s third win in five matches, propelling them to fifth place in the 10-team table, just above Punjab Kings.

However, it was Reddy’s magnificent innings that set up Hyderabad’s victory, as he showcased his batting prowess with a brilliant display of power hitting, steering his team to a competitive total.

Punjab wobbled early in their chase after Cummins took down Jonny Bairstow for a three-ball duck and soon slipped to 58-4 when Curran departed on 29.

Zimbabwe’s Sikander Raza hit 28 but it was number six Shashank and number eight Sharma who took on the chase only to finish two short.

“There was always the hope that they could finish the game. Hats off to them that they brought it this close,” Punjab skipper Shikhar Dhawan said after their third loss this season.

(AFP)

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