Sunrisers Hyderabad raced to the top of the table with a third straight win in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Hyderabad beat Delhi Capitals by five wickets with one and a half overs to spare on Thursday thanks to some fine performances from Mohammad Nabi and Johnny Bairstow.
Here are some of the key moments from the encounter:
When the strategic time-out worked against Rishabh Pant
Delhi had lost two early wickets and were ambling along at just over six runs per over with Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant at the wicket. But if they wanted some relief, all they had to do was turn the clock back to the last time these two sides met at the very same venue. Pant had lambasted the Sunrisers attack to steal a terrific hundred then.
The wicket-keeper batsman appeared determined to not throw it away on Thursday and was on five off six balls when the strategic time-out was taken after the ninth over.
On a slow wicket, choosing the right time to launch an attack is crucial and Delhi had learnt this the hard way in their last game here against Kolkata Knight Riders. Pant, apparently, hadn't learnt his lesson. The first ball after the break, he looked to take on the seemingly innocuous Mohammad Nabi and gifted a catch to long-off to take the long walk back.
Manish Pandey redeems himself with a screamer
Manish Pandey had played a total of just nine balls in the three matches Sunrisers had played this season but he found a way to contribute by pulling off a blinder at backward point. Siddharth Kaul's slower ball was cut in the air by Colin Ingram in the 14th over of the innings.
Pandey timed his jump to perfection and grabbed the ball while it was still inches away from the ground. Interestingly, two balls earlier, Pandey had a chance to run the South African out but missed the direct hit by a whisker even as Ingram was stranded well outside the crease.
Axar Patel and Mohammad Nabi with the finishing act
Axar Patel and Mohammad Nabi were the best bowlers for the respective sides on Thursday, but interestingly, the duo played crucial cameos with the bat too to display their all-round potential. Axar walked in with Delhi tottering at 93/6 in the 17th over. He smashed Bhuvneshwar Kumar for a four in the 18th over before ending the innings with a couple of sixes off Siddharth Kaul in the final over. On both occasions, Axar read Kaul's slower ball and oozed power with his big hits.
If Axar's finish gave Delhi something to defend, Nabi ensured it wasn’t enough in a run-chase that had gotten too close for comfort for Sunrisers. The Afghanistan all-rounder walked in and belted 17 in nine balls with two fours and a six to seal the tense run-chase. With 10 off 12 balls needed in the penultimate over, Nabi hit Rabada for a four, albeit off an edge, and a cheeky six off consecutive balls to put curtains on the night.
Sandeep Lamichhane's wild throw
Delhi were under the pump after Bairstow's early onslaught and needed to hold onto any chance to redeem themselves. With Rahul Tewatia dismissing the Sunrisers opener, Delhi saw light at the end of the tunnel and Rabada, their strike bowler, was persistent with from one end. In the first over after the Powerplay, Warner slashed Rabada to deep point and set off for a single.
Sandeep Lamichhane rushed from third man, covering good ground in the process, and fielded the ball cleanly but the ball got stuck in his palms while throwing and went in the direction of cover rather than at the stumps. The haywire throw cost Delhi an extra run and Rabada was least pleased about it. The fielder was also seen shaking his head in disbelief at the atrocious throw he had sent down.
Axar Patel dropped the match?
Johnny Bairstow had barely started off when he decided to come down the track and belt Axar Patel in the second over of the run-chase. The England batsman miscued the shot, though, and ended up playing the ball right back at Axar. The former Kings XI all-rounder reacted quickly and got to the ball with both hands but shelled the catch.
This was just what Bairstow, in form after a hundred in the previous game, needed to get going. He slammed Lamichhane for a six and a four next over and then smashed Chris Morris and Kagiso Rabada for three fours apiece in their respective overs. He was dismissed on 48 off 28 balls by Tewatia but had inflicted enough damage by then to sink Delhi. Axar's drop perhaps cost Delhi the match for without Bairstow's blistering knock, the faltering Sunrisers middle-order would have come under more scrutiny.