IPL 6: Sunrisers Hyderabad stun Rajasthan Royals

It was a game played under the shadow of the spot-fixing scandal and unfortunately for Rajasthan Royals who were looking to put the ugly episode behind them, it couldn't have turned out worse.

In a low-scoring match that saw bowlers from both sides rule the roost, Sunrisers Hyderabad emerge triumphant as they beat Rajasthan Royals by 23 runs.

Paceman James Faulkner, who became the first bowler in IPL history to grab five wickets twice in a season, helped restrict Sunrisers to 136 for nine but his side failed to chased down the target on a slow pitch at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.

Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma and Parthiv patel
Amit Mishra is congratulated by his teammates.

The home side produced a disciplined bowling show to restrict Rajasthan, who were playing their first match after three players were found allegedly involved in IPL spot-fixing scandal that broke out yesterday, to 113 for nine to secure their ninth win.

Amit Mishra returned with impressive figures of two wickets for just eight runs from his four overs.

Thisara Perera, Karan Sharma and Dale Steyn also grabbed two wickets each.

For Rajasthan, who were playing their last league match, Kevon Cooper top-scored with 26 while captain Rahul Dravid contributed 25.

With the win today, Sunrisers jumped to fourth spot with 18 points from 16 games. They play their last league match here on May 19 against Kolkata Knight Riders.

Rajasthan, who already have booked a play-offs berth, remained on third with 20 points from 16 matches.

Rajasthan got to a steady start with Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane (12) sharing 39 runs for the opening wicket in 7.3 overs but they struggled after the duo departed in quick succession.

Dravid was out while running for a single of a misfield by bowler Mishra and Sunrisers captain Cameron White broke the stumps in a flash with the visiting side skipper well short of the crease. Seven balls later, Rahane departed as he holed out to Shikhar Dhawan at deep cover.

Next man in, Sanju Samson (5) and Shane Watson (11) struggled to get the runs on a slow pitch and Rajasthan could reach just 44 for two at the halfway stage. Samson looked promising as he opened account off the first ball he faced but pressure kept mounting as he and Watson failed to find the boundaries.

Shane Watson
Shane Watson couldn't script a win for Rajasthan against Hyderabad.

Samson was out in the 12th over while trying to find the boundary. The youngster played a big shot but failed to clear long-off fielder Steyn. Run rate climbed over 11 an over and Rajasthan's chase virtually ended with in-form Watson and Stuart Binny (8) perishing in the space of three balls in the 14th over.

Watson, on whom Rajasthan's fortunes depended a lot, struggled throughout his 20-ball stay at the crease and a big hitter like him could not find a single boundary. He was caught by Sammy at long on.

Mounting pressure also caught up with Binny and he completely lost the plot against Perera whose delivery he tried to play across only to miss it and see his wickets go cart-wheeling.

There was still a glimmer of hope with Brad Hodge (8) still there in the middle though the asking rate had shot up to more than 15 by the end 16th over. Steyn, however, clean-bowled Hodge with a beauty before taking the wicket of Kevon Cooper in the last over to claim his second wicket. 

Earlier, James Faulkner had a dream spell, claiming five for 16 as Rajasthan Royals restricted Sunrisers Hyderabad to 136.

Electing to bat after winning the toss, Sunrisers reached 136 after being reduced to three for five in third over, thanks mainly to Biplab Samantray's 55 (46 balls, 6x4,1x6) and some useful contributions by Darren Sammy (23) and Hanuma Vihari (19).

Playing their first match after the arrest of their three players in spot-fixing scandal, Rajasthan Royals took to the field confidently, dominating the game in the initial overs.

With a spell reading 4-1-16-5, Faulkner was simply unplayable. With 26 wickets in 14 matches, he has become the leading wicket taker this IPL season. It was the second five wicket haul for the Australian this IPL. He had claimed five for 20 against the same opponents in Jaipur.

Shane Watson and Siddharth Trivedi claimed a wicket each while other bowlers also bowled with tight line and length to restrict the home team in their must-win match.

Sunrisers had a disastrous start, losing both the openers in the second over, bowled by Faulkner. Parthiv Patel was the first to depart when an inside edge rattled the stumps even as he was trying to steer it to third man. It was Faulkner's very first ball. He gave another vital breakthrough on the last ball of the over when Shikhar Dhawan mistimed a drive, only to be held at point by Ajinkya Rahane.

James Faulkner

James Faulkner became the first bowler in IPL history to grab five wickets twice in a season.

Captain Cameron White returned to pavilion on the very first ball he faced. White hooked Shane Watson to fine-leg but Siddharth Trivedi took a superb catch on the boundary. The home side lost three wickets in a span of 10 deliveries and was in deep trouble at 5 for 3 in third over.

Samantray hit Pravin Tambe for the first boundary in the fifth over, as he along with local boy Hanuma Vihari tried to steer the inning. They added 44 for the fourth wicket before Vihari (19 runs off 28 balls) tried to go for a big hit off Trivedi, only to give a high catch to Sachin Baby.

Playing only his sixth match of this season, Samantray looked in good touch. He along with Darren Sammy rebuilt the inning. Playing some attractive shots, they gave momentum to the inning, adding 56 runs in 35 deliveries before Sammy (23 off 19, 1x4,1x6) got out in the 17th over. It was once again Faulkner, who gave the visitors a vital breakthrough.

Joined by Thisara Perera at the other end, Samantray continued his good show to score his first 50 of the season. His half-century came off 43 deliveries and it includes five fours and one six. The 24-year-old's previous best this season was 37 against Pune Warriors.

Faulkner struck again to remove Samantray in his fourth over and the 19th of the inning. He also claimed a wicket on the last ball of his spell by uprooting Dale Steyn's stumps.

The home side could manage only 14 runs in the last two overs, losing four wickets, including two run outs in the final over.

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