Captain David Warner's belligerent innings of 93 not out helps Sunrisers Hyderabad overcome Gujarat Lions by four wickets to enter the final of IPL 9 and set up a mouth-watering clash vs Royal Challengers Bangalore
New Delhi: David Warner played a captain's knock at the Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium on Friday to ensure that the Gujarat Lions were eliminated and the Sunrisers Hyderabad made the final of the Indian Premier League's (IPL) ninth edition.
Warner's majestic 93 meant he single-handedly led Hyderabad into the IPL final after securing a four-wicket win over Gujarat in the Qualifier 2.
Chasing a tricky 163, Sunrisers overhauled the target with four balls to spare as Warner anchored the chase with his responsible 58-ball knock, embellished with 11 four and three sixes.
Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper David Warner hits one on the on-side during his match-winning knock against Gujarat Lions on Friday night. Pic/AFP
Hyderabad will now challenge Royal Challengers Bangalore on Sunday as the two teams will compete for their first ever IPL title.
While maximum Sunrisers batsmen cut a sorry figure, Warner showed his class and super cool temperament as he never let the innings fall apart.
Wickets kept tumbling but Warner had dug his heels and found amazing support in Bipul Sharma, who came up with a sizzling unbeaten 27-run knock under pressure.
Bipul, who had also troubled rival batsmen when Lions batted, took pressure off his captain with his timely big shots. His sixes off Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Dhawal Kulkarni played a crucial role in turning the tide in Sunrisers' favour.
Bipul, who played for India 'A' in 2010, always had batting credentials but today was the day to show his worth as he added 33 runs with Warner in their unfinished partnership for the seventh wicket.
Needing 5 runs off last over, Warner blasted a four in the first ball off Praveen Kumar to level the scores and then took a single to finish the match comfortably.
Earlier, Aaron Finch (50) rescued his side with a fighting half-century, leading Gujarat to a competitive 162 for seven with useful contribution from Brendon McCullum (32), Dinesh Karthik (26) and Dwayne Bravo (20).
Losing Shikhar Dhawan (0) and Moises Henriques (11) early was not the ideal start for the Sunrisers. Dhawan was run out while Henriques hit straight to Eklavya Dwivedi in the covers off Dwayne Smith.
Warner was still there and giving him company was a confident-looking Yuvraj Singh as the Sunrisers managed 46 for 2 in Powerplay overs.
Sensing that spinners would do well, Lions skipper Suresh Raina introduced himself early into the attack and also handed the ball to young Shivil Kaushik.
Warner hammered Raina for a straight six, that broke the glass facade on the first tier, to raise fifty of the team and found another boundary on a mis-field from the substitute fielder Andrew Tye.
Earlier, Aaron Finch's 32-ball 50 lifted Gujarat Lions to 162 for seven.
Coming in to bat with his side struggling at 63/3 in the ninth over, the Australian right-hander hit two sixes and seven fours to register his fifth century of the tournament, even as his team kept losing wickets at regular intervals.
Hyderabad received a big blow even before the start of the match as left-arm medium pacer Mustafizur Rahman (16 wickets) was ruled out due to a hamstring injury. Filling in for the Bangladeshi, Kiwi paceman Trent Boult contributed handsomely, taking a wicket and being involved in two other wickets.
Medium pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2/27) and Ben Cutting (2/20) also stepped up and contributed significantly and thanks to them, Gujarat struggled from the beginning.
Gujarat had a difficult start, losing opener Eklavya Dwivedi (5) and skipper Suresh Raina (1) inside four overs.
Eklavya offered a simple catch to Boult at third man off a rising delivery from Bhuvneshwar in the first over. Boult bowled the next over and had left-hander Raina leg before wicket (LBW), as Gujarat reached 19/2 in 3.2 overs.
Brendon McCullum (32) and Dinesh Karthik (26) started a recovery process as they started the partnership carefully. They had struck a 44-run stand when tragedy hit Gujarat as Karthik ran himself out while trying to take a single towards short third man (Boult) in the ninth over bowled by left-arm spinner Bipul Sharma.
After this wicket, Hyderabad took full control of the match as Bipul dealt another blow to Gujarat when he had McCullum caught by Bhuvneshwar at deep cover in the final ball of the 12th over. Two deliveries before the dismissal, a generous Sran had dropped a catch offered by Aaron Finch at short fine leg, but McCullum had other ideas to plot his downfall.
West Indian veteran batsman Dwayne Smith (1) too joined McCullum soon in the dug-out as he was caught at deep cover by Shikhar Dhawan off medium pacer Ben Cutting, following which, Gujarat reeled at 83/5.
Finch utilized the long handle to good effect as he milked sixes and fours all around the park to ensure that Gujarat get a competitive score. He scored the bulk of the 51-run stand with Ravindra Jadeja.
After completing his fifty in just 31 deliveries, Finch was castled by compatriot medium pacer Cutting but Jadeja (19 not out) and Dwayne Bravo (20 off 10) steered Gujarat past 160-run mark.
Gujarat Lions: 162/7 in 20 overs (Aaron Finch 50, Brendon McCullum 32; Ben Cutting 2/20, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 2/27). Sunrisers Hyderabad: 163/6 in 19.2 overs (David Warner 93 not out, Bipul Sharma 27 not out; Shivil Kaushik 2/22, Dwayne Bravo 2/32).