T20 2018: How Hyderabad stunned Punjab despite low total
Hyderabad defend yet another low total to beat Punjab by 13 runs
Five-wicket hauls are a rare event in T20 cricket but to have picked one and still end on the losing side is even rarer. Punjab's Ankit Rajpoot suffered that painful fate as Hyderabad defended yet another modest total, saving their batsmen the blushes here at the Rajiv Gandhi international stadium. The hosts won by 13 runs. In pursuit of 133, all looked dandy for Punjab as Chris Gayle and KL Rahul notched another fifty-run stand. But the introduction of Rashid Khan turned the match on its head.
Rashid, who had suffered at the hands of Punjab earlier in the season, mysteriously found a way through Rahul's defence, even though it looked like the batsman had the line of the delivery that rattled his off-stump covered. Later, as Punjab attempted to rebuild through Karun Nair the leggie sprang into action again, trapping Nair in front with an indecipherable googly. Shakib al Hasan joined the Hyderabad party with the wickets of Mayank Agarwal, who took on the long-on fielder but failed to clear him and Aaron Finch, whose harrowing run continued with another failure. The prized scalp of Gayle, however, was pocketed by Basil Thampi, who had also dismissed Suryakumar Yadav at a crucial stage of the encounter against Mumbai Indians. Punjab lost nine for 64 following an opening stand of 55, as Hyderabad avenged their earlier defeat to them in Mohali.
Hyderabad cricketer Rashid Khan (2L) celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Punjab cricketer Karun Nair (unseen) during the T20 2018 match between Hyderabad and Punjab/ AFP
Earlier, Rajpoot incinerated Hyderabad'a top-order, removing Kane Williamson, Shikhar Dhawan and Wriddhiman Saha with Test-match lines and lengths. He later came back to dismiss half-centurion Manish Pandey and all-rounder Mohammad Nabi to finish with figures of 5 for 14. After Rajpoot's early strikes, Hyderabad had no answers to the mysteries of Mujeeb ur Rahman or the devilishly deceptive slower balls of Andrew Tye, as none of the batsmen managed to break the shackles. Pandey, who was dropped thrice during his painstaking knock of 54 couldn't shift gears at any point, barring an over from R Ashwin in which he struck a four and a six. Shakib had his fair share of luck when he was caught off a Barinder Sran no-ball but much like Pandey, he merely huffed and puffed to a 29-ball 28.
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