Before the start of the must-win game against the Kolkata Knight Riders, the Sunrisers Hyderabad decided to go in with a different captain, switching from Shikhar Dhawan to Darren Sammy. Team mentor VVS Laxman said that the decision was made so that Dhawan could free himself up as a batsman and opener. In the event, neither the current skipper nor the previous put their hands up when it really mattered.
Batting first, Hyderabad had made a par 142/8 — Naman Ojha, David Warner and Irfan Pathan all had starts but did not continue — and with the wicket not really having any demons in it, the defense was down to how well they held themselves in the field. First Dhawan put down Kolkata’s form man Robin Uthappa in the sixth over and then Sammy, late in the game, put down Manish Pandey. Uthappa, who was on nine off 12 balls when he was dropped, smashed the unlucky bowler Dale Steyn for a six next ball and went on to make a typically robust 40 (33 balls, 5x4, 1x6). Though Pandey (35 off 32 balls, 3x4, 1x6) was out a couple of balls after Sammy dropped him, the reprieve itself cost Hyderabad a couple of runs right when the equation was getting tighter and tighter for Kolkata.
No late jitters
Eventually, Yusuf Pathan (39 off 28 balls, 2x4, 2x6) and Ryan ten Doeschate (25 off 15 balls, 2x4, 1x6) ensured there were no late jitters as Kolkata ensured that they stayed ahead of Bangalore, who had won earlier in the day, in fourth spot.
Hyderabad were also let down by purple-cap holder Bhuvneshwar Kumar and leggie Amit Mishra, though the latter’s under-performance would not have come as a surprise to them this season. In a match were both sides did not really find too many opportunities to score big (Karn Sharma and even Irfan Pathan went at around a run a ball), Mishra and Kumar went at close to ten an over. In fact, Mishra’s form had been a concern all through this IPL — in ten matches, he has gone at more than nine runs an over and has just seven wickets to show for it.
However, Kumar’s slip came at a more crucial juncture in the game. With Kolkata needing to score 30 runs off 18 balls, Kumar missed his yorker by a feet, feeding Pathan with a full ball instead. The ball