Hyderabad: A dramatic collapse of 4 for 1 proved irreparable for Kings XI Punjab, who lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad by five wickets on Friday. For the second game in a row Amit Mishra had a say in a late-innings hat-trick, though it was not recorded next to his name - in the 18th over, he removed Azhar Mahmood with his fourth delivery, Manpreet Gony was run out on the fifth, and on the final ball Mishra had Manan Vohra caught in the deep.
Punjab crashed from 114 for 5 to 115 for 9, and a total of 123 proved easy enough for a jittery Hyderabad to chase down despite losing a wicket without a run on the board and then stumbling near the death. Though he didn't take a wicket, Thisara Perera hastened victory with an unbeaten 23 off 11 balls which included three sixes to secure victory with seven balls remaining. Hyderabad are now at No. 1 on the IPL 6 leaderboard.
Yet again, Punjab's openers failed to lay a platform. As has happened throughout the tournament, Mandeep Singh was consumed by his aggression; looking to continuously play to the leg side, he top-edged Ishant Sharma to Quinton de Kock. Having come into this match 34 runs in four innings, Adam Gilchrist nearly made up for it in one innings with a cameo that hinted at much more. Ishant and Perera fed him his trademark shots, the cut and the pull, and Gilchrist collected four sizzling boundaries. In fact, the only two shots Gilchrist appeared keen on play were with a horizontal bat. In Perera's first over he only tried to cut and pull, and connected thrice for boundaries.
It was the pull which eventually consumed him during a period in which Hyderabad took control, as Gilchrist (26) pulled the legspinner Karan Sharma to Ishant in the deep. In the same over, the ninth of the innings, Paul Valthaty lobbed tamely to long-off. Valtathy was drafted into the XI despite not having played a competitive match since May 2012 in the previous IPL, and the rustiness was all too evident - he made 6 off 17 balls.
Piyush Chawla was promoted and began to counter-attack with two sixes off Karan Sharma, over deep square leg and straight down the ground, and a firm shot over Amit Mishra's head. His cameo 23 off 15 balls ended with a direct hit on the first ball of the 15th over, leaving KXIP at 88 for 4. When David Hussey (22) sliced Ishant to the a boundary rider, Punjab were left with 21 balls to try and force a strong total.
But the late assault never materialized. Three wickets fell in Mishra's final over, and on the first ball of the 19th Gurkeerat Singh (17) was bowled by Dale Steyn. Mishra had bowled a decisive 19th over against Pune Warriors earlier this week and again he proved pivotal at the death. His 2 for 29 made him the highest wicket-taker of IPL 6.
Praveen Kumar gave Punjab an early breakthrough when he bowled de Kock in a wicket-maiden opening over, but Hanuma Vihari and Akshath Reddy added a stabilizing 48 in 43 deliveries to keep the hosts on track. They rotated the strike well while collecting the odd boundary and Hyderabad ended the Powerplay on 30 for 1. There was little to separate them from where Punjab had been at the same juncture (33 for 1) but a middle-order wobble left Hyderabad indebted to Perera for hauling them over the finish line.
An athletic one-handed catch from Mahmood at mid-off cut off Reddy (19) when he tried to go aerial off Gony, and after a busy innings of 46 it was Vihari who departed next, driving Chawla to Hussey at cover. With 37 to get in 30 balls, Cameron White had his stumps played first delivery of a new Gony over, and when Mahmood returned for the next over he won an lbw appeal against Biplab Samantray (10) first ball.
At 95 for 7, a close finish was on the cards but Perera swung it Hyderabad's way by striking Mahmood for three towering sixes in the penultimate over.