New boys Sunrisers Hyderabad upstaged Chris Gayle and the Royal Challengers Bangalore by winning a super-over thriller. R Kaushik reports.
Indian Premier League: Hyderabad stage a super recovery against Royal Challengers Bangalore
Hyderabad // An hour and a quarter before the game was to start, Chris Gayle sauntered out of the dressing room, skipped down the tunnel and appeared on the field for the first time.
By then, more than 25,000 fans had already gathered at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, and they welcomed Gayle with a roar. It set the stage for an entertaining night's cricket and a super-over victory in extra time Sunday for Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The same buzz of anticipation prevailed when Gayle walked out to open the Royal Challengers Bangalore innings, alongside Tillakaratne Dilshan. Up against Gayle was Dale Steyn, in a match-up full of exciting possibilities.
The Sunday showdown lasted all of one delivery, an unexciting single. Then, the stadium erupted in utter delight as Gayle was evicted by GH Vihari.
Gayle's anti-climactic dismissal, however, didn't take the edge away from a gripping, low-scoring contest that culminated in the first super over of this year's competition. R Vinay Kumar, who had done well to push the match into the super over by only conceding six off the last over of regulation play, was taken apart by Cameron White - who hammered two sixes - as Hyderabad amassed 20 runs in the extra session. Bangalore, with Gayle and Virat Kohli against the pace of Steyn, managed only 15.
In normal play, Bangalore laboured to an unimpressive 130 for 8, and Hyderabad, needing two off the last delivery, scrambled a bye to finish on 130 for 7.
At various stages, Hyderabad threatened to implode, sucked in as much by the pressure of the chase as the questions asked by the Bangalore attack. That they pushed the game into the super over was largely due to Vihari, who kept the innings together with a measured, unbeaten 44.
Hyderabad were rocked early on when Moises Henriques struck twice in his first spell, and while Akshath Reddy and Vihari did stabilise the innings, they took their time doing so. Muttiah Muralitharan then foxed Akshath with his second delivery, but it was Jaidev Unadkat who struck telling blows, dismissing Kumar Sangakkara and Thisara Perera in his second spell to set up the tense finish.
The Bangalore innings was based around Kohli and Henriques, who both got into the 40s. No one else passed 10. Vihari bowled only the one over, as did Ashish Reddy, but that was time enough for both to make an impact. Where Vihari got Gayle, Ashish accounted for Kohli.
Steyn had a rare off-day, conceding 37 runs from his four overs, but Ishant Sharma - who produced a peach to account for Dilshan - was hostile. He was superbly complemented by Perera and Amit Mishra, who turned in a wonderful exhibition leg-spin bowling.
Hyderabad 130-8 (20 ov)
Bangalore Kohli 46, Henriques 44; Ishant 3-27
Hyderabad Vihari 44 (no), Akshath 23; Henriques 2-14
GH Vihari (Hyderabad)
R Kaushik is deputy editor of Wisden India
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