Hyderabad: In a match where they have to win to stay in contention for a playoffs berth, Sunrisers Hyderabad crushed Rajasthan Royals by eight wickets on the back of Manish Pandey and all-rounder Vijay Shankar’s half-centuries, on Thursday.
After a decent bowling performance, led by West Indian Jason Holder, that saw Royals manage 154/6, Sunrisers lost openers David Warner and Jonny Bairstow in quick succession and looked set for their straight fourth loss. However, Pandey came out all guns blazing with a counter-attack unbeaten 83 and added 140 runs for the third wicket with Shankar (52 not out) to steer his side home.
Speaking after the victory, Shankar said he treated this match as a do-or-die match for him. “It was a do-or-die game for me. I had to perform in this game. I didn’t have the best of times with the bat, so I had to perform in this game and fortunately or unfortunately, we lost early wickets which made the team send me up the order. If I play more, I will get better. Before this innings, I had played only 18 balls in the tournament,” he said.
He also revealed that they had constant communication during the partnership. “Manish was actually hitting the ball really well early on. We wanted to take the game deep so I opened up and then we got few boundaries and it made things easier for us,” added the Tamil Nadu all-rounder.
Shankar also had a decent outing with the ball picking up a wicket for 15 runs in his three overs. Speaking on his bowling, he said, “The most important thing was to bowl a lot of overs. I haven’t bowled much in the previous IPL. The more I bowl, the better I will become. It is a good confidence booster to get to bowl in the sixth over.”
The win propelled SRH to fifth place and kept them very much in the hunt. “We just slipped in the last minutes in previous matches. A win like this will give confidence to each and every member of the team. The challenge is pretty clear, win three in a row and see where we are in the run rate. We have no option. We need to continue to believe that we are good enough. The team has nothing to lose,” he said.
Meanwhile, Royals’ coach Andrew McDonald lauded the Pandey-Shankar duo and said they batted beautifully. “Credit to the two batsmen for their knocks. I felt we had enough pressure on the team with two quick wickets in powerplay. But we didn’t take wickets in the middle. And they did not give us any chances. Our total was not enough. 170 would have been ideal. SRH had two guys scoring 50s, we didn’t have a single fifty. So the bowlers were under pressure to defend a small total. We lost wickets at regular intervals. But we can’t take away anything from SRH bowlers as well. They bowled well.”
When asked whether they should have given Jofra Archer, who dismissed both SRH openers, a third over on the trot, he said, “That was the decision for the captain to make. One more wicket would have done nice. But they batted extremely well through the middle overs. That partnership was crucial and did us in.”
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