Ahmedabad: Sunrisers Hyderabad kept themselves in the top-four race as they crushed Rajasthan Royals by 32 runs on the back of an inspiring bowling performance in an Indian Premier League clash, here today.
Hyderabad looked down and out after posting a modest 134 for nine but they came out all guns blazing, forcing their rivals into submission with their fiery bowling, led by young India paceman Bhuvneshwar Kumar (4/14).
Sunrisers Hyderabad celebrate the fall of Shane Watson's wicket. Pic/Nirav Trivedi
Kumar provided the first breakthrough in the third ball of the RR innings and then took three wickets in the 18th over to deny the rivals any sort of comeback.
His senior pace colleague Dale Steyn (2/33) took two wickets while Karn Sharma, Moises Henriques and Irfan Pathan took a wicket apiece in a collective bowling effort to bowl out Rajasthan for 102 with one ball to spare.
The result meant that Rajasthan skipper Shane Watson's superb hat-trick went in vain and Hyderabad moved to fifth from seventh in the points table.
It was a pathetic batting display by Hyderabad as more than the Rajasthan bowling, it was poor shot selection of the Hyderabad batsmen that let them down.
None of the SRH players, except skipper Shikhar Dhawan (33), applied himself as Watson (3/13) and Rajat Bhatia (3/23) shared six wickets between them.
The highlight of the SRH innings was RR skipper Shane Watson becoming only the third foreigner to claim an IPL hat-trick and the second in the current tournament to achieve the feat.
It was a split hat-trick for Watson as he dismissed Dhawan in the last ball of his first over and then sent back Moises Henriques (9) and Karn Sharma (0) when he returned for his second over later in the innings.
In his last match also the burly Australian had taken three wickets in one over to trigger a KKR batting collapse.
Apart from Dhawan, Irfan Pathan's a-run-a ball unbeaten 21 helped SRH reach at least a modest total.
Shane Watson in action against SRH on Thursday. PIC/Nirav Trivedi
Dhawan, who had been struggling thus far, seemed to have found his touch back as he hit some sweetly-timed boundaries. His cuts and drives, predominantly on the off-side, reached the boundary ropes in jiffy.
However, he could not capitalise on the stupendous start, getting back to dug out in somewhat strange fashion. One from Watson kept slightly low and faint edge carried the ball onto stumps.
His 20-ball knock had seven boundaries.
In came Lokesh Rahul (18) and he too began in tremendous fashion, dispatching Dhawal Kulkarni for two boundaries but Aaron Finch (9) joined his captain in the dug out, thanks to a stunning catch by Ajinkya Rahane off Bhatia.
The Australian neither got the power nor the elevation in his shot and Rahane latched on to the chance diving forward.
Rahul squandered the good start by playing a reckless shot, giving Bhatia his second wicket.
It was left to new-man in David Warner (6) and Naman Ojha (17) to provide impetus to the innings but the former did not help the cause of his side by departing early.
Leg-spinner Pravin Tambe, star of Rajatshan's previous match with a hat-trick, foxed the charging Australian left-hander with a turning ball and Sanju Samson had an easy stumping to do.
Ojha too left his side in tatters as he was bowled by Bhatia while attempting to work the ball on the on-side.
Watson then piled on the SRH misery by completing his hat-trick.
THE BOWLERS TO CLAIM A HAT-TRICK IN IPL
Yuvraj Singh (twice)
Amit Mishra (thrice)