All eyes were on Sunrisers Hyderabad’s Umran Malik, but all they could see was a blur. But still, Gujarat Titans had the last laugh as they prised out a five-wicket win in their thrilling IPL match here on Wednesday.
Introduced into the attack as late as the eighth over, as Kane Williamson’s last resort, the young pace sensation delivered what was expected of him, grabbing five wickets with devastatingly quick deliveries to scythe through the Gujarat Titans top-order and almost propel Sunrisers Hyderabad to their sixth successive win in the ongoing edition of the lucrative league.
But Rahul Tewatia (40 not out off 21 balls) and Rashid Khan (31 not out off 11) had other ideas as GT, needing 56 from the last 24 overs after Umran had completed his quota of four overs, knocked off the required runs, with the star from Afghanistan finishing the game with a six over fine leg.
The BCCI, nevertheless, will have again taken serious note of the man from Jammu, who, in one of the best ever exhibitions of fast bowling, finished with incredible figures of 5/25, four of which were bowled.
Opener Abhishek Sharma and Aiden Markram struck sparkling half-centuries as Sunrisers Hyderabad posted 195 for six after being asked to bat first.
In pursuit of a stiff target, the Titans were off to a flyer with Wriddhiman Saha (68) blazing his way to a flurry of boundaries while putting on 69 runs for the first wicket with a subdued Shubman Gill (22), who played the second fiddle.
After the others have tried and failed, Umran succeeded in getting the first breakthrough, when he disturbed Gill’s off stump in the innings’ eighth and his very first over.
Having got himself two fours, GT skipper Hardik Pandya was done in by Umran’s bounce as he top-edged one to the third man.
Meanwhile, playing one of his great IPL knocks, Saha raced to his fifty in 28 balls with a single to long-on.
Luck too was on Saha’s side as Washington Sundar could not hold on to what would have been an unbelievable catch at mid-on, only for the ball ball to race to the boundary.
The show then belonged to Umran before the duo of Tewatia and Rashid swung the match in GT’s favour with their astonishing hitting.
Earlier, Abhishek blazed away to 65 off 42 deliveries, while Markram made a 40-ball 56 during a third-wicket stand of 96 runs.
Then, Shashank Singh (25 off 6 balls) smashed Lockie Ferguson (0/52 in 4 overs) for three successive sixes to score 25 runs in the innings’ final over.
To start with, SRH were helped by Mohammed Shami’s (3/39 in 4 overs) 11-run opening over in which a first-ball beauty was followed by five leg-side wides, not once but twice.
Yash Dayal too conceded 11 runs, thanks to two boundaries by Abhishek Sharma on the off side, as SRH raced to 22 for no loss in two overs.
Kane Williamson clipped Shami over square leg for his first boundary but that’s all the SRH skipper could do with the bat as, three balls later, the seasoned India pacer went through the gate with a lovely seaming delivery to dismiss the Kiwi and give his team the match’s first breakthrough.
Having got a life at point even before he could open his account, Rahul Tripathi smashed Shami for 6, 4, 4 before a review found that the batter was trapped in front of the wicket in an eventful fifth over, which went for 14 runs.
Unperturbed by the fall of two wickets, Abhishek collected two successive fours off Alzarri Joseph — first he lofted over the infield and then found the gap through a packed off-side — to help SRH score 53 runs in the six power play overs at the Wankhede Stadium.
SRH needed a partnership at that stage and the duo of Abhishek and Markram not just provided them that but also kept the scoreboard moving at a very good rate by regularly finding the boundaries.
While Markram dealt with the likes of pacers such as Alzarri, Abhishek went after Rashid Khan, hitting the Afghanistan spin ace for his third six to reach his half-century in style.