Hyderabad: It was supposed to be a contest between the top pacers and batsmen in the country, with Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah representing Mumbai Indians and Shikhar Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar turning up for Sunrisers Hyderabad.
However, when the match ended, two leg-spinners — Rashid Khan and Mayank Markande — emerged above the rest.
While Khan has been creating a stir for a while now, Markande showed that his three wickets on IPL debut was no fluke, as he snared four this time, albeit to another losing cause.
In a match that can be dubbed a cliffhanger, SRH won by one wicket.
Though Khan captured only one wicket (1/13), he hurled a staggering 18 dot balls, never letting batsmen change gears.
He was aptly named the Man of the Match. Markande was not too far behind, with 11 dot balls to his credit.
With a potent attack at its disposal (despite Kumar not playing due to a niggle), SRH’s lackluster fielding (they dropped Rohit and Ishan Kishan) disappeared into the background as they restricted the defending champions to 147/8.
The confidence that new captain Kane Williamson has on his bowlers was evident when he chose to field again, despite the fact that a majority of matches played here have been won by sides batting first.
Sandeep Sharma made the ball talk in the first over, troubling Rohit with seam movement. He would have got him had Deepak Hooda not dropped a catch.
Hooda’s blunder did not cost much, as Rohit was scalped by Billy Stanlake in the next over.
With just 11 on the board, No 3 Kishan hit two consecutive boundaries. Evin Lewis looked set to play another memorable inning, with frequent hits to and over the fence.
Enter Siddarth Kaul. The speedster removed both southpaws in his first over to dent the visiting team’s progress.
Before his over, they had been scoring at almost 10 an over. None of the lower-order batsmen could make an impact after the twin strikes.
Just when Kieron Pollard looked to steer the innings, he was dismissed by Stanlake for 28.SRH started brilliantly, scoring 56 in six overs.
It seemed that the batsmen would make short work of the bowlers again. Markande, however, recreated his magic and snared the crucial wickets of Wriddhiman Saha (22), Shikhar Dhawan (45), Manish Pandey (11) and Shakib Al Hasan (12) to leave SRH shaking in their boots.
Bumrah (2/32) and Mustafizur Rahman (3/24) gave SRH fans some anxious moments. With just required off the last two overs, Rahman sent back Kaul and Sandeep, giving away just one run.
With just one wicket in hand, Hooda (32*) came to the rescue of his team.
The target was reached off the last ball.
Brief scores: MI 147/8 in 20 overs (Sharma 2/25, Kaul 2/29) lost to SRH 151/9 in 20 overs (Dhawan 45, Hooda 32 n.o, Markande 4/23, Rahman 3/24, Bumrah 2/32).